DOTC sets bids opening for MRT 3 Phase 2 capacity-expansion project

By Lorenz S. Marasigan, BusinessMirror

Posted at Jun 10 2014 07:41 AM | Updated as of Jun 10 2014 03:41 PM

MANILA -- The government has allotted P836.46 million to improve the support system of the most congested railway line in the metropolis.

In an invitation to bid, the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) said it is inviting private-sector participants to join the auction for the second phase of the capacity expansion of the Metro Rail Transit Line 3 (MRT 3).

The multimillion-peso project entails the upgrading of the line’s ancillary systems to effectively integrate 48 brand-new train coaches purchased during the first phase of the expansion project.

It also includes the upgrade of traction power substation, improving of depot facilities, construction of North Avenue turn back and Taft pocket track tension.

Deadline for the submission and the opening of bids is scheduled on Wednesday.

The government is beefing up its efforts to upgrade the most congested railway system in the country. The first phase of the capacity- augmentation project involved the procurement of 48 light-rail vehicles from Chinese firm Dalian Locomotive and Rolling Stock Co. which won the contract in January.

Under the terms of the deal, Dalian will have 18 months to deliver the prototype coaches for testing on the MRT 3 system.

It should then deliver the remaining coaches in tranches over the next 18 months.

The new train coaches are expected to beef up the capacity of the said line which currently has a fleet of 73 light rail vehicles, running at a maximum speed of 65 kilometers per hour covering the rail system’s 13 stations in about 30 minutes.

The rail transit line has an original design capacity of only 350,000 passengers per day. According to current MRT 3 data, it is already averaging 560,000 passengers daily, and its highest recorded number of single-day riders has reached 620,000.

The government also plans to take over the operator of the railway system, pursuant to its build-lease-transfer (BLT) contract, earmarking a P56-billion capital for the buyout of the railway line.

President Aquino last year ordered the takeover of MRT Corp. (MRTC), which owns the assets of the line, through Executive Order 126.

The order directs the transportation agency, Department of Finance, Development Bank of the Philippines and Land Bank of the Philippines to execute the takeover of MRTC, through the acquisition of all outstanding shares of stock and other securities issued by MRTC and entities owning the MRT 3 line or all rights, titles interests of MRTC in the railway system.

The two government banks have a combined 80-percent economic interest in MRT 3.

Abaya had said that after the buyout, the government plans to auction the operations and maintenance of the MRT 3, while the government will remain as its operator.

The government has, so far, shelled out a P75-billion subsidy for MRT 3.