Malaya Business Insight | November 8, 2017

The Department of Transportation (DOTr) will choose another maintenance provider for the Metro Rail Transit (MRT-3) Line 3 through a negotiated bid to be done by February.

Three companies have expressed interest in the contract, according to Reinier Yebra , DOTr undersecretary for Legal and Procurement.

Yebra said these companies include Singapore MRT Ltd., a wholly-owned subsidiary of SMRT Corp. which is a rail operator in Singapore ; RATP, a public transport operator in Paris and Japan-based Sumitomo-MHI-TESP (Mitsubishi Heavy Industry).

"We're looking at bidding it out in three months. Under the procurement law , we're allowed to conduct the bidding in three to six months," Yebra said.

This alternative mode of procurement pursuant to the Government Procurement Reform Act of 2003 is being tapped in recognition of the urgency to address the railway's maintenance needs.

Negotiated procurement is allowed in the following instances: takeover of contracts which have been rescinded or terminated for causes provided for in the contract and existing laws, where immediate action is necessary to prevent damage to or loss of life or property, or to restore vital public services, infrastructure facilities and other public utilities.

DOTr has established a maintenance transition team (MTT) for the MRT-3 after taking over starting last Monday the maintenance of the system from Busan Universal Railways Inc (BURI) whose three-year contract was pre-terminated.

On the first day DOTr took over the operations of MRT 3 maintenance, the number of trains deployed during peak hours was reduced to 14 trains from 20 deployed by BURI.

"Gradually we will improve the train availability and reliability through… repair and effective preventive maintenance while waiting for the procurement of spare parts," the MTT said.

To avoid service disruptions, MRT-3 absorbed 408 employees from BURI, whose roles are vital in MRT-3 maintenance works.

The DOTr, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority and the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board will meet today to discuss contingency measures in case of glitches in MRT-3.

Leah Quiambao, DOTr assistant secretary, said the agency tapped the LTFRB to deploy buses to assist passengers who will be stranded in case there is a technical problem with the MRT or if the queue is long.

Quiambao said the MMDA will manage vehicular flow in MRT stations since the LTFRB buses will add to traffic congestion on EDSA.

Quiambao said the DOTr will particularly discuss issues on how to address the shortage of trains for commuters.

Early morning passengers of the MRT Line 3 were inconvenienced yesterday after a train experienced technical problem on the southbound leg of North avenue in Quezon City at 6 a.m.

Five technical problems were recorded by the agency last Monday, the day DOTr served the final decision to terminate BURI which was tasked to conduct the general overhaul of 43 light rail vehicles, replace its signaling system, and do other additional maintenance works.