02 April 2014
The Government of the Republic of the Philippines, through the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC), and AF Consortium of the conglomerates Metro Pacific Investment Corporations (MPIC) and Ayala Corporation signed on Monday, 31 March 2014, the ten-year concession agreement to build and implement the new single ticketing system for Metro Manila‚Äôs MRT and LRT lines.
Transportation and Communications Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya, MPIC Chairman Manuel Pangilinan, and Ayala Corporation Chairman and CEO Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala signed the agreement for the P1.72-billion Automatic Fare Collection System (AFCS) at EDSA Shangri-La Hotel in Mandaluyong City.
“The AFCS is the first leap forward in modernizing our mass transportation systems,” Secretary Abaya said.
According to the Transport chief, the new MRT-LRT payment system is expected to be implemented in September 2015.
‚ÄúThe private partner will start building the project in December 2014 and is targeted to be completed in July 2015, ‚Äú he added.
AF Consortium on the other hand expressed their enthusiasm and confidence to work on this PPP transport project. This was echoed by MPIC Chair Manny Pangilinan who assured the government of their commitment to modernize the payment system and ease the burden of travel of millions of light rail commuters.
‚ÄúNow that the bid is over and we are about to conclude this agreement, we think that the hard work really begins this afternoon. We have about 18 months to deliver on this promise,‚ÄĚ Pangilinan said.
Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala also expressed Ayala‚Äôs excitement for the AFCS project and other projects to be offered by the government in the future. ‚ÄúWe are absolutely delighted to be here with the MPIC group, to address some of the needs of the country,‚ÄĚ he added.
PPP Center Executive Director Cosette V. Canilao hailed the AFCS contract signing as an achievement for the Philippine PPP program. ‚ÄĚThe AFCS is the sixth PPP project awarded to the private sector under the Aquino Administration. This project is also one of those that will be completed under the administration, ‚ÄĚthe PPP Center chief explained.
‚ÄúWe are very happy with the positive turn-out of the AFCS bidding. The very positive response from the private sector has been very encouraging,‚ÄĚ Canilao added.
She likewise thanked AF Consortium for accepting the challenge to partner with the government. She called on them to look at the AFCS project not only as a business opportunity, but as a privilege to share with government its technology, innovation, and efficiency aimed to improve public service.
In December 2013, the AF Consortium submitted the best bid offer, paying the government the amount of Php1,088,103,900 on top of the project cost of installing and operating the AFCS.
The AFCS project involves the decommissioning of the old-magnetic-based ticketing system and replacing the same with a contactless-based smart card technology for LRT Line 1 and 2 and MRT Line 3 similar to the Octopus card system in Hong Kong and EZ Link system in Singapore. This will lessen the need for long queues by allowing passengers to seamlessly transfer from one line to another, making train travel more convenient and efficient.