DOTC eyes new MRT maintenance provider by April

By Jacque Manabat, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 04 2015 12:42 AM | Updated as of Mar 04 2015 09:01 AM

MANILA – The Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) is ending the contract of the current maintenance provider of the Metro Rail Transit (MRT), Global APT.

It will be done through a negotiated or emergency bidding wherein government officials will talk to parties which previously showed interest in the contract.

"Ang tinutulak pagdating ng Abril may panibagong maintenance provider na kaya ng gawin ang lahat ng requirements natin," said DOTC spokesman Migs Sagcal.

The maintenance contract was also softened to get more interested parties. This includes reducing train availability by as much as eight trains on peak hours and revising fines to a per five-hour basis instead of per hour.

If a contractor is chosen, transport officials said smooth transition is expected. If no one still agrees to be the ageing train system's maintenance contractor, the last option will be a government takeover.

"Kaya ng ginawa dati, may shadow team para mabantayan ang maintenance works. Pwede din kami mag-hire ng karagdagang mga magta-trabahong inhinyero at maintenance individuals para punuan muna pangsamantala ‘yung requirements," Sagcal said.

Global APT, meanwhile, said it will continue maintaining the trains until told otherwise.

"We cannot comment on whatever decision DOTC may come up with. On our part we continue to do our best to maintain the safety of the trains till told otherwise. Issue is still obsolescence and overloading of trains," said Global APT spokesperson Bing Zaide.

In an email, MRT Corp. reacted to DOTC's plan to undergo procurement of maintenance contract through negotiated contract.

"Under the BLT agreement, the obligation to maintain the MRT-3 System is with MRT Corp., not with DOTC. MRTC has always asserted its rights under the BLT agreement for the benefit of the riding public. The solution to maintenance problems is for DOTC to communicate with MRTC, not with other parties,” said MRT Corp. director Jun Bondoc.

There are several interested parties for the MRT maintenance contact including: SMRT of Singapore, Tokyo Rail of Japan, Hamburg of Germany and their local partners.