Railway smart card system to go live ahead of schedule

New ticketing system to cost consortium P1.42B

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The winning consortium for a public private partnership deal to build and operate a smart-card system for Metro Manila’s elevated railways said the project would be implemented ahead of schedule with a capital spending budget of about $300 million, one of its executives said last week.

David Nicol, chief financial officer of Metro Pacific Investments Corp., the partner of Ayala Corp. in winning bidder AF Consortium, said the smart-card system for Metro Rail Transit line 3 and Light Rail Transit Lines 1 and 2 would “go live” by May 2015, ahead of the government’s September 2015 target.

Nicol said it would cost the consortium about P1.425 billion to develop its ticketing system, which it would operate for 10 years. The project is formally known as the automated fare collection system PPP and the finished product would be akin to Hong Kong’s Octopus smart-card system, Metro Pacific said.

Beyond ticketing for railways, 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, government officials said earlier.

The consortium is likewise banking on the synergies between Ayala and Metro Pacific, which is led by businessman Manuel V. Pangilinan. Metro Pacific is a unit of Hong Kong-listed First Pacific Co. Ltd., which partly owns Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co., a fierce competitor of the Ayalas’ telco interest.

The consortium members include the Ayala Group’s BPI and Globe Telecom, and Metro Pacific, which partnered with Smart Communications and Meralco FinServe of First Pacific.

Its other partners are MSI Global, which developed automated fare collection systems’ software in Singapore and Bangkok, and SMRT, which operates Singapore’s mass transit system.

AF Consortium was issued the notice of award late Thursday by the Department of Transportation and Communications.

The DOTC said the group had given the “most advantageous offer” following appeals and letters filed by a disqualified group and No. 2. bidder, the SM Group.

AF Consortium offered P1,088,103,900.00, which edged out the SM Group’s bid by a difference of P103,900.

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