DOTC drops plan to buy 2nd-hand trains for MRT 3

By Lawrence Agcaoili, The Philippine Star

Posted at Jun 09 2013 10:22 AM | Updated as of Jun 09 2013 06:22 PM

MANILA, Philippines - The Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) has dropped plans to acquire second-hand trains for the congested Metro Rail Transit Line 3 (MRT 3) along EDSA.

Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya said the government has decided against acquiring second-hand trains from Spain’s Metro de Madrid and the Czech Republic after considering the maintenance cost as well as time of delivery.

“We are veering away from second-hand trains because the timeline does not show much advantage plus the fact of higher maintenance cost,” Abaya said in a text message.

The DOTC has delayed for several times the bidding of a contract worth P3.8 billion for the supply and delivery of 48 new trains to augment the existing 73 Czech-made trains to look into the possibility of acquiring second-hand trains.

The submission and opening of bids for the MRT 3 capacity expansion project was originally scheduled last March 22 but was moved to April 15, to April 30, to May 30, and to June 11.

This after the Philippine government received offers for the supply and delivery of second-hand trains from Metro de Madrid of Spain as well as the government of Czech Republic that is allowed by Republic Act 9184, otherwise known as the Government Procurement Reform Act.

On Feb. 22, the DOTC opened the bidding for a P3.8-billion contract for the supply of 48 new light rail vehicles to decongest the MRT 3.

Almost 600,000 passengers take the MRT 3 along a 16.9-kilometer stretch from North Ave. in Quezon City to Taft Ave. in Pasay using the current fleet of 73 Czech-made trains.

Under the expansion program, the DOTC said the government would acquire 48 new trains to be able to use a four-car train that would arrive every 2.5 minutes during peak hours from the current system wherein three-car trains arrive every three minutes during peak hours.

Sumitomo Corp. – a diversified conglomerate based in Tokyo – and CSR Zhuzhou Electric Locomotive – one of the largest electric locomotive manufacturers in China – have expressed interest in the project.

DOTC spokesman Michael Arthur Sagcal said the agency is now evaluating the bid of Autre Porte Technique (APT) Global Inc. for the P712.77 million one-year temporary maintenance project for MRT 3.

Sagcal said APT Global submitted a bid of P685 million while the financial offers made by Commbuilders & Technology Philippines Corp. as well as the tandem of Asiaphil Manufacturing Industries Inc. and Korea Railroad were not opened by the Bids and Awards Committee (BAC) after both failed to qualify for the next stages of the bidding process.

Last October, the DOTC awarded a $1.15-million contract for the maintenance of the MRT 3 to PH Trams-CB&T JV. 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.

Meanwhile, Sagcal said the DOTC would also review the proposal submitted by lone bidder Banner Plasticard Inc. to supply 4.252 million magnetic tickets for the MRT 3 worth P25 million.

The DOTC is pursuing the complete government takeover of the MRT 3 through the acquisition of the private sector partners of Metro Rail Transit Corp. (MRTC) so it could bid out the complete operation and maintenance of the mass transit system.

President Aquino has already issued Executive Order 126 directing the DOTC and the Department of Finance (DOTC) to buy out MRT 3 from MRTC pursuant to a build-lease-transfer (BLT) agreement.

The plan to buy out the private sector’s stake in MRT 3 would mean the government would no longer need to pay MRTC huge fees every year. The DOTC annually pays the MRTC for equity rental payments, maintenance cost, debt guaranteed payment, insurance expenses, and others.