Friday, January 31, 2014

DOTC Awards Its First PPP Project: AFCS to Modernize Rail Ticketing Experience in 2015

Wazzup Pilipinas!

The Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) awarded the first of its many projects under the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) program to a joint venture led by the Ayala and Metro Pacific groups last Thursday, 30 January 2014.

“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,” said DOTC Secretary Joseph Emilio Aguinaldo Abaya.

The Automatic Fare Collection System (AFCS), a tap-and-go ticketing scheme for the Light Rail Transit (LRT) and Metro Rail Transit (MRT) rail systems, is envisioned to improve passenger comfort and convenience by cutting queuing time and allowing seamless transfers from one rail line to another.

The AF Consortium was awarded the concession after having made the most advantageous offer to the transport agency. It proposed not only to undertake the modernization project, but also to make premium payments to government in the amount of P 1,088,103,900.00.

As a result, the DOTC will be able to implement this common ticketing system and generate revenues for government at the same time, without passing any cost on to passengers.

This was made possible by the way the transport department structured the project, which allows the winning concessionaire to expand its business beyond the LRT and MRT lines. Thus, the AF Consortium will be able to promote the use of the smart card-based technology to other transport modes such as buses, as well as to retail outlets such as mall and convenience stores, among others.

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,” remarked Abaya.

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.

As for the MRT-3 buyout, government has already begun the process to acquire the urban railway’s facilities and to end government’s obligation to pay exorbitant rental fees to the private owner until the next decade.

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