MANILA, Philippines - Despite a last-minute appeal by the SM group, the government and the tandem of Ayala Corp. and Metro Pacific Investments Corp. (MPIC) on Monday signed the concession agreement for the P1.72 billion single ticketing system for the MRT 3 and LRT 1 and 2.
The concession agreement for the project was signed by the AF Consortium's top officials - Ayala Corp. chairman Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala and MPIC chairman Manuel V. Pangilinan.
Transportation and Communications Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya said the project is expected to be implemented by September 2015.
"The project is in good hands with the top conglomerate and telecom providers undertaking this project," Abaya said.
Of the appeals filed by losing and disqualified bidders, Abaya said, "We have addressed all the issues."
MPIC's Pangilinan assured that the AF Consortium will complete the project before the deadline set by the DOTC.
"Now that the bid is over and we are about to conclude this agreement, I think the hard work begins this afternoon. We have 18 months to deliver on this promise," he said.
Zobel said he expects more partnerships with MPIC in the future. "We are absolutely delighted to be here with the MPIC and Smart Groups. Hopefully this won’t be the last time that we will work together," he said.
The concession agreement was sealed despite the SM Consortium's filing of a second motion for reconsideration before the DOTC on Monday. The DOTC had earlier dismissed its first appeal last March 28.
The AF Consortium submitted a bid of P1,088,103,900 for the Automatic Fare Collection System (AFCS) project. The SM Consortium submitted the second-best offer with P1,088,000,000.
The MRT-LRT single ticket is envisioned to be like Hong Kong’s Octopus Card, which serves as a debit card, aside from being a stored-value train ticket. The single ticket could also be used for other modes of transportation such as buses, paying toll, electronic banking, and even shopping.
The AFCS project would bring important benefits to the more than one million daily passengers using the light rail lines ensuring seamless interconnection for travelers and removing the current inconvenience of the need to buy separate tickets for separate lines.