10 December 2013

The Philippine government received favorable deals from bidders for the P1.72-Billion MRT-LRT common ticketing system under the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) Program.

During the financial bid opening on 09 December 2013 for the Contactless Automatic Fare Collection System (AFCS) project of Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC), it was revealed that some bidders are willing to provide payments to the government on top of the total project cost, instead of the government providing additional funding support to them for the project.

Two Bidders are offering DOTC a premium for the AFCS—AF Consortium of the Ayala and Metro Pacific with Php 1,088,103,900 and SM Consortium Php 1,088,000,000. Lastly, Comworks and Berjaya Consortium is asking a subsidy of Php 2,050,090,300 from the government.

Only the financial bids of these three groups were opened because they were the only one that passed the technical evaluation stage. Originally, DOTC have prequalified five bidders including E-Trans Solutions Joint Venture and the Megawide-Suyen-Eurolink Consortium.

“The opening of the financial bids is only the first step in determining the winning bidder,” said DOTC Undersecretary Jose Perpetuo Lotilla, Chairperson of the Special Bids and Awards Committee.

Usec. Lotilla also said that bidder with the lowest financial bid will be awarded the project, assuming that all requirements are complied with.

DOTC will further evaluate the three financial bids opened. This will take a maximum period of fifteen calendar days, as provided by the Build-Operate-Transfer Law, for them to check if the numbers presented by the bidders are accurate and compliant with all other requirements.

According to DOTC Spokesperson Atty. Miguel Sagcal, DOTC targets to announce which group has the lowest bid on or before 24 December 2013. “And DOTC will issue the Notice of Award to the winning bidder by first week of January 2014,” he added.

The AFCS project will modernize and improve the overall passenger experience at the LRT and MRT Systems. Passengers will no longer have to spend so much time lining up just to buy tickets. They will also be able to seamlessly transfer from one line to another. The same fare media can also be expanded as payment system for other public transport modes as well as in other micro-payment applications.

The project involves the decommissioning of the old-magnetic-based ticketing system and replacing the same with contactless-based smart card technology on LRT Line 1 and 2 and MRT Line 3. It will introduce a smart card-based technology similar to the Octopus card system in Hong Kong, to make the travel for train commuters more convenient and efficient. The private sector will operate and maintain the fare collection system for a concession period of 10 years.

DOTC’s AFCS project is a recipient of the Project Development and Monitoring Facility (PDMF) managed by the PPP Center. Under the PDMF, the DOTC was given funding support to procure the transaction advisor that prepared the feasibility study of the project. The transaction advisor also provides technical assistance in the bid process management, including the preparation of bid documents and contracts, and assistance until financial close.