Bidding for MRT 3 expansion faces delay

By Louella D. Desiderio, The Philippine Star

Posted at Sep 18 2012 08:21 AM | Updated as of Sep 18 2012 07:25 PM

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) needs time to study if there is a need to seek the approval of Metro Pacific Investments Corp.(MPIC) before bidding out additional light rail vehicles (LRVs) for the Metro Rail Transit (MRT) 3 system, an official said.

DOTC undersecretary Rene Limcaoco told reporters on the sidelines of the Philippine Economic Briefing yesterday that the department is still looking into the contract of the government with the MRT operator to see what needs to be done before it sets the bidding for the expansion of the MRT 3 system.

“We’re studying the contracts to determine what needs to be done,” he said.

Among the things they are looking at is whether the department would have to get the consent of the MPIC which holds an economic interest in the Metro Rail Transit Corp., the owner and operator of the MRT 3.

“We’re studying whether that approval is needed,” Limcaoco said.

Earlier this month, the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Board approved the MRT 3 capacity-expansion project.

The project, which costs P8.63 billion, involves the acquisition of an additional 52 LRVs as well as the implementation of required ancillary works, to enable operating the MRT 3 system at a four-car train configuration.

The MRT 3 spans North Avenue station in Quezon City until Taft Avenue station in Pasay City.

Limcaoco also said the DOTC would endorse soon to the NEDA Investment Coordination Committee the common ticketing system project for Lines 1 and 2 of the Light Rail Transit (LRT) and the MRT 3 soon.

He declined to give more details on the schedule.

The LRT Line 1 runs from Roosevelt station in Quezon City until the Baclaran station in Pasay City, while Line 2 is from Santolan in Pasig to Recto in Manila.

Limcaoco said it would be up to the winning bidder if it would want to add features to the ticket.

Earlier, DOTC Secretary Manuel Roxas II said the department was looking at having a ticket similar to Hong Kong’s octopus card, which would not only be used for transport, but could also be used to purchase goods in convenience stores.

He said the ticket would likewise have e-(electronic) banking features.