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Still No Bidders for MRT-3 Maintenance Contract

Every day, millions of Filipinos take the train to and from their workplaces, schools and other destinations. This makes it extremely important to maintain its proper condition to avoid fatal accidents like what happened in August 2014 when an MRT train overshot the tracks at the Taft Avenue station in Pasay City. The incident left 38 passengers badly injured.

To better serve daily passengers of the MRT-3, the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) has opened the bidding for the 3-year maintenance contract for the train system. However, DOTC said on Tuesday that there are still no takers.

This is the second time that a contract bid for MRT-3 has failed to entice service providers. The first one was last October 2014, which was also snubbed by bidders, despite a whopping Php2.4-billion budget.

Michael Sagcal, DOTC spokesperson, said no company has submitted their bids when the deadline passed last Tuesday, despite the government revising parts of the service agreement.

“The BAC (bids and awards committee) will have to declare a failure of bid and conduct a mandatory review in accordance with rules, to determine what further adjustments should be made in order to make the project acceptable to interested groups,” Sagcal said in a text message.

The five groups who acquired the bid documents during the initial bidding include Mosa-Inekon, South Korea’s Busan Metro and a DMCI Holdings Inc. unit.

The MRT-3 maintenance contract apparently seemed challenging to different providers, with the train’s systems were outdated and thus, required part replacements. A representative of one of the groups who were sent the bid documents said that rehabilitation works are overdue by over five years.

Currently, maintenance of the MRT-3 is carried out by Autre Port Technique Global Inc. (APT Global), a Filipino company. However, a series of breakdowns and accidents has put the DOTC and its contractor APT Global under public scrutiny over the past year.

With poor transit services still making the lives of millions of passengers at risk, both DOTC and APT Global are constantly placed in hot water. This is especially true now that the fares for the MRT-3 as well as for LRT lines 1 and 2 have been increased. People can’t believe that the government is actually making them shoulder the maintenance cost of these already faulty rail systems.

More improvements for the MRT and LRT systems

As part of its rehabilitation and capacity expansion projects, DOTC has set Php50 million for consultancy services for MRT-3 under the General Appropriations Act of 2015. Hernando Cabrera, a MRT-3 and LRTA spokesperson said that the consulting firm would offer guidance and impartial input in the management and operation of the transit systems. The money will be sourced from the increased fares for the MRT and LRT systems.

The DOTC has also published a bidding invitation for the supply and delivery of 60 units of traction moor for MRT-3’s Czech-made RT8D5M light rail vehicles (LRVs), which is estimated to be worth Php91.7 million.

With these planned improvements, the people are now hoping these will come into fruition.

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