ABS-CBNnews.com | October 1, 2015

MANILA - Passengers of the Metro Rail Transit Line 3 (MRT-3) may experience less disruptions in the coming months with the go-signal of the upgrade of the railway's signaling system.

The Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) on Thursday said it has awarded the signaling system upgrade project to Bombardier Transportation Signal Ltd.

"This upgrade of an obsolete signaling system, which should have been done by the private sector owner years ago, is crucial in minimizing operational disruptions. This will improve reliability and efficiency of the rail system for the benefit of our passengers," Transportation Secretary Jun Abaya said in a statement.

Under the P53.37 million contract, Bombardier will upgrade the existing local control system over the next seven months.

The new system, EBI Screen 900, is a software with the same functionality as the current MAN 900, but allows the use of modern personal computers and fiber optic technology.

The signaling system maintains safe distances between trains and controls their speed.

Within the first month of the contract, Bombardier is expected to provide the required hardware upgrades and software licenses; install, test, and commission support of the new system; carry out the migration of existing data and functions; and train MRT-3 personnel on proper operation and maintenance.

The private firm also holds exclusive proprietary rights to supply new components, as it designed, developed, and implemented the entire MRT-3 signaling system when it was constructed.

On Monday, commuters were allowed to purchase the new contactless "beep" cards at the North Avenue, Cubao, Shaw Blvd, Ayala and Taft Ave. stations.

The new technology will soon allow riders to access the trains across all three rail lines.