A joint venture led by Ayala and Metro Pacific groups has won the PHP1.72bn ($37.81m) rail transit ticketing contract to improve passenger comfort and convenience, while enhancing services at the Light Rail Transit (LRT) and the Metro Rail Transit (MRT) in Philippines.

Awarded by the Philippines Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC), the contract to provide the automatic fare collection system (AFCS) is the first of several projects undertaken by DOTC as part of the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) programme.

Under the contract, the LRT and MRT systems will be completely integrated with the AFCS ticketing scheme by September 2015.

DOTC secretary Joseph Emilio Aguinaldo Abaya said: "The AFCS will provide passengers with more comfort, convenience, and efficiency in their daily commute, at no cost to government or to the passengers."

"This shift to a modern fare collection system is only the beginning."

The tap-and-go ticketing AFCS scheme is intended to reduce queuing time and allow passengers to make seamless transfers from one rail line to another.

"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."

The DOTC also has plans to build a Common Station in the EDSA-North Avenue area to connect the LRT-1, MRT-3, and MRT-7 lines.

Besides this, the operations and maintenance of LRT-1 and LRT-2 will be transferred to the private sector through the PPP programme for improved services.

Image: The Philippines DOTC’s Metro Rail Transit (MRT) systems. Photo: courtesy of the Department of Transportation and Communications/ Republic of the Philippines.