Passengers of the Metro Rail Transit Line 3 (MRT-3) will soon experience significantly improved service levels, as the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) has awarded the long-term maintenance contract to the Joint Venture of Busan Transportation Corporation, Edison Development & Construction, Tramat Mercantile, Inc., TMICorp Inc., and Castan Corporation.
Beginning January 5 next year, the winning concessionaire will fulfill the general maintenance requirements for three (3) years. The long contract period will allow the new service provider to procure the necessary spare parts needed to increase the number of operating trains, especially during peak hours.
The P3.81-billion contract also covers the general overhaul of the trains and the total replacement of the signaling system.
Previous attempts to bid out the long-term maintenance contract – once in September 2014 and again in January 2015 – resulted in failure due to the non-participation of bidders. Recognizing the urgent need to address the railway’s maintenance requirements and the core problems of obsolescence and complete wear-and-tear, the Government Procurement Policy Board (GPPB) unanimously approved the transport agency’s decision to proceed with an alternative mode of procurement pursuant to the Republic Act No. 9184.
The Department of Justice (DOJ) and the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) have also approved the said mode of procurement.
While procuring the long-term service provider, the DOTC engaged subcontractors directly under a multi-disciplinary approach to enhance the efficiency of maintenance works per component.
Delivery of Second MRT-3 Coach On Schedule
The second new light rail vehicle (LRV) for the MRT-3 arrived yesterday, as scheduled, at the Manila International Container Terminal.
After it is processed by the Bureau of Customs (BOC) and transported to the MRT-3 Depot, tests on the different components will be conducted until February. These include testing the German-made traction motors from Voith and brake systems from Knorr-Bremse, and the overall performance of the LRV to ensure that it is safe, reliable, and at par with international standards.
Meanwhile, two (2) more LRVs are expected to be delivered over the next two (2) months, and MRT-3 passengers can expect one (1) new running train by the end of Q1 2016. Delivery of the LRVs will be at four (4) per month by March, and is scheduled to be completed with the 48th unit in January 2017.
The DOTC project implementation team has been closely monitoring the production process to ensure the rapid progress and proper manufacture of the new trains.
The 48 new LRVs are part of the DOTC’s MRT-3 capacity expansion project, which aims to decongest the metropolis’ busiest railway system by boosting its capacity to over 800,000 daily passengers.
Updates on Improvement Works
Other proactive undertakings to improve MRT-3 facilities include the new and stronger passenger hand straps – all of which have been installed – for increased safety.
The refurbishment of 12 Schindler-brand escalators is expected to be completed by next week, with most units already open for public use. This can provide some relief to commuters, especially senior citizens, persons with disabilities, and pregnant women.
Announced last week was the full systems acceptance of the tap-and-go ticketing scheme to mark the completion of the trial period, which gave the public a chance to transition smoothly to the new system that allows seamless transfer between rail lines using the beep cards, helping shorten queuing time.