TODAY'S BUSINESS HEADLINES

Smart wins respite from Appeals Court over text messaging refund 20-Oct-14, 7:42 PM | Darwin G. Amojelar and Brian Maglungsod, InterAksyon.com

Bangko Sentral hikes minimum capital, tighthens loan collateral rules 20-Oct-14, 4:35 PM | Scarlet Venilia, InterAksyon.com

PH stock index takes cue from overseas markets, stays above 7,000-mark 20-Oct-14, 4:17 PM | Krista Angela M. Montealegre, InterAksyon.com

6 groups seek qualification for Bulacan water supply PPP project 20-Oct-14, 3:44 PM | Darwin G. Amojelar, InterAksyon.com

Philippines sheds foreign exchange for a ninth month 20-Oct-14, 2:57 PM | Scarlet Venilia, InterAksyon.com

DOTC awards LRT-MRT common ticket project to Ayala-Metro Pacific group

InterAksyon.com means BUSINESS

MANILA - The Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) has awarded the contract for the common ticket project of the country's three overhead train services to the partnership of Metro Pacific Investments Corp (MPIC) and Ayala Corp. 

DOTC said the contract for the Automated Fare Collection System (AFCS) Project was awarded to the AF Consortium yesterday.

“We are pleased to announce that a modern ticketing system is on its way for our train riders. This is part of the DOTC’s effort to improve our services at the LRT and the MRT.  The AFCS will provide passengers with more comfort, convenience, and efficiency in their daily commute, at no cost to government or to the passengers,” Transport Secretary Joseph Emilio Aguinaldo Abaya said in a statement.

The announcement came after the DOTC Bids and Awards Committee resolved a number of issues raised by losing bidders SM Consortium and  E-Trans Solutions Joint Venture. 

Transport Undersecretary Perpetuo Lotilla, who chairs the DOTC-BAC told Interaksyon.com that "the letters were answered before the award." 

In a text message, DOTC spokesperson Michael Arthur Sagcal said the BAC addressed the claim of SM Consortium that the bid of AF Consortium was "conditional."

"An unconditional and unqualified bid means that the bidder accepts all terms and conditions of the bidding. AF Consortium's bid met this requirement," Sagcal said. 

Earlier, the AF Consortium offered a negative financial bid of P1,088,103,900 for the AFCS, better than the P1,088,000,000 offer of the SM Consortium and the P2,050,090,300 of Comworks-Berjaya Consortium.

A negative bid means the winning bidder will pay the government instead of getting paid by the operator and riders for the service. 

The DOTC set a bid ceiling of P1.72 billion for the project.

Under the concession agreement, the AFCS ticketing scheme will be fully integrated at the LRT and MRT systems by September 2015.

“This shift to a modern fare collection system is only the beginning of several rail improvement projects in our pipeline.  We are increasing the capacity of MRT-3 and buying out its private owner, extending the rail lines of LRT-1 and LRT-2, and building a new one called MRT-7,”Abaya said. 

In addition to these projects, the DOTC will also construct a Common Station in the EDSA-North Avenue area to connect the LRT-1, MRT-3, and MRT-7 lines.  It will also transfer the operations and maintenance of LRT-1 and LRT-2 to the private sector through the PPP program, in order to improve services for the public.

Under the project terms, the winning bidder will have the option to expand the contactless card system to other businesses in and out of the transportation sector, such as in retail transactions.

Similar to Hong Kong's "Octopus" card, the Philippine version would allow daily commuters to use a single ticket when they ride the LRT Lines 1 and 2, as well as the MRT Line 3. The three rail services have a combined ridership of a million a day.

One of the Aquino administration's public-private partnership (PPP) projects, the proposed tap-and-go system, which the winning bidder will operate for 10 years, will also enhance fare collection efficiency by reducing leakage and fraud.

In the future, the system can be expanded to include other transport modes such as buses, toll roads and the Philippine National  Railways (PNR).

InterAksyon.com is the online news portal of TV5, which like MPIC is chaired by Manuel V. Pangilinan.