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The Philippine Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) awarded on Friday 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.
DOTC Secretary Joseph Emilio Aguinaldo Abaya, said:
"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."
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.
The estimated investment for the project is US$39 million.
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.