DoTr to decide on MPIC-Ayala’s MRT takeover by yearend

The Department of Transportation (DoTr) targets to address the Metro Pacific Investment Corp. (MPIC) and Ayala Corp.’s unsolicited proposal for the rehabilitation and takeover of the Metro Rail Transit Line 3 (MRT-3) by the end of the year.

“Due diligence sila ngayon. By end of the year, we will address their unsolicited proposal, after finishing maintenance and operating issues of the MRT-3… kung uusad ang unsolicited proposal nila,” Transport Secretary Arthur P. Tugade told reporters on the sidelines of the inauguration of the Mactan-Cebu International Airport Terminal 2 last week.

MPIC, in a consortium with the Ayala group and Macquarie Infrastructure Holdings (Philippines) Pte. Ltd., proposed to take over MRT-3’s operations last July 2017. Under the proposal, the consortium will be investing Php20 billion for the system’s rehabilitation and will handle its operations for a period of 30 to 32 years.

The consortium’s proposals will double the MRT-3’s current capacity to 700,000 passengers a day. The railway connecting Quezon City’s North Avenue to Pasay City’s Taft Avenue has long been running at more than 500,000 passengers a day, well beyond its capacity of 350,000.

The DoTr granted the group, which already handles the operations of Light Rail Transit Line 1 (LRT-1), original proponent status (OPS) for the project in November.

It was during this time that the DoTr also terminated its contract with Busan Universal Rail, Inc. for MRT-3’s operations. The transport department alleged that BURI failed to ensure efficient and available trains, and failed to procure proper spare parts.