MANILA, Philippines - The Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) is set to bid out a contract for the acquisition of light rail vehicles (LRVs) for the Metro Rail Transit (MRT-3) along EDSA next month or early January.
Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya said in an interview with reporters on the sidelines of the PPP and Infrastructure Forum organized by the British Embassy yesterday that the contract for the first batch of 26 LRVs would be bid out in December or early January.
“We got an approval for the 52 trains. We are sending an invitation for the public bidding. Maybe within the year or early next year we will have the first batch of 26 LRVs,” Abaya stressed.
Abaya said the contract for the remaining 26 trains would be auctioned next year.
Last September, Malacañang and the board of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) approved the MRT-3 capacity expansion project involving the acquisition of 52 more LRVs for a total consideration of P8.63 billion.
The expansion would translate to a 60-to 70-percent increase in the capacity of the mass transit that traverses from Taft Ave. in Pasay City to North Ave. in Quezon City.
The MRT-3 services about 500,000 passengers per day exceeding its rated capacity of about 350,000 passengers. It has a fleet of 73 Czech-made air-conditioned rail cars, of which up to 60 three-car trains operate daily while the others are undergoing maintenance.
Abaya pointed out that the DOTC would bid out a contract for the operation and maintenance of MRT-3 once the interim contract awarded last month expires after six months.
“It is the role of the DOTC,” he added.
Last month, the DOTC awarded the contract for the maintenance of the MRT-3 to PH Trams-CB&T JV after Metro Rail Transit Corp. (MRTC) failed to bid out a new contract after the contract of Sumitomo expired. The interim maintenance provider of the MRT 3 is for six months while it conducts the procurement process for a regular maintenance provider for the train line.
The contract between the MRTC and Japanese firm Sumitomo has been extended four times.
PH Trams-CB&T JV was awarded the contract as it offered the lowest monthly maintenance cost of $1.15 million compared to two other firms which submitted proposals such as Sumitomo TES-P Inc. and Miescor Railway/Genials JV.
Abaya also revealed the plan of the completely taking over of MRT-3 by buying out the interest of its private partner First Pacific’s Metro Pacific Investments Corp. in the country’s main rail transit system.
Once the takeover is completed, he explained that the government would bid out the operation and maintenance (O&M) aspect of MRT 3 through a public private partnership (PPP) scheme.
Meanwhile, Abaya said the DOTC is in the process of redesigning the planned P1.6-billion common station project that would link the MRT-3 and the proposed MRT-7 with the Light Rail Transit (LRT-1) and LRT-2 due to high cost.