The Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) will push through with the bidding for the new automated fare collection system (AFCS) for Metro Manila’s trains, even as a South Korean firm continues to assert its rights over the project.
“The Contactless AFCS Project will modernize and improve the overall passenger experience at the LRT (Light Rail Transit) and MRT (Metro Rail Transit) systems,” the DOTC said in a statement. “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.”
Prospective bidders will submit their qualification documents for evaluation by the DOTC and the Light Rail Transit Authority (LRTA) on Friday, in line with the requirements of the Build-Operate-and-Transfer (BOT) Law.
Only those that meet the eligibility requirements will qualify to participate in the actual bidding of the project, scheduled to be held in the third quarter of this year.
The DOTC said 34 companies purchased invitation documents for pre-qualification, although a lower number of participants are expected to submit requirements because many of the participating companies will have formed partnerships with other interested firms.
One of the 34 companies that bought qualification documents was Kystek Corp., which earlier claimed to have been given the exclusive right by the DOTC to implement a project similar to the AFCS.
“The DOTC denies any truth to Kystek’s claim,” the agency said. “Contrary to recent reports, the DOTC never approved Kystek’s unsolicited proposal. Acceptance of an unsolicited proposal requires no less than the Secretary’s authorization.”
In Kystek’s case, the basis for its claim is an unauthorized letter of acceptance signed by a “mere” former director of the department.
“The fact that Kystek purchased invitation documents shows that it is fully aware that its unsolicited proposal was never accepted by the government, and that it is interested to bid for the AFCS Project,” the DOTC said.
The P1.72-billion AFCS project was approved by the President and the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) Board in November 2012. It will introduce a smart card-based technology similar to the Octopus card system in Hong Kong, which will make the commute for Metro Manila train passengers more efficient and convenient.