Jenniffer B. Austria | The Standard PH | September 14, 2016

The Duterte administration rejected Metro Pacific Investments Corp.'s offer to rehabilitate and improve the operations of Mass Rail Transit Line 3.

Metro Pacific president Jose Ma. K. Lim said the company revived its offer to take over the operations of MRT Line 3, but the Transportation Department believed the government could do the job faster.

"Yes, we have resubmitted [our offer] but informally, we have been told the government wants to undertake the improvement of MRT 3 faster [and] do it instead of bidding it which would take a long time to do," Lim said in a recent interview.

"They [government] want immediate improvement," Lim said.

Metro Pacific said in June it submitted to the Duterte administration a proposal to rehabilitate MRT 3 on its own. The previous Aquino administration also rejected the offer of the conglomerate.

MRT-3 carries close to 600,000 passengers a day, above its designed daily capacity of 350,000.

Metro Pacific submitted a proposal to the Transportation Department in 2011, offering more than $500 million worth of investments from the private sector to rehabilitate and upgrade MRT-3.

The group's proposal did not prosper as the offer included raising fare for the train system. The Transportation Department also said the government was more inclined towards an open and transparent competitive bidding.

Over the past several years, MRT 3 has suffered service and maintenance problems resulting in glitches and reduced number of coaches.

The Duterte administration said it planned to improve MRT 3 which runs along Edsa from North Avenue in Quezon City to Taft Avenue in Pasay City.

The plan includes increasing the number of trains to 60 in the first 100 days of the new administration from current 48 coaches and to improve the trains' travel speed to 50 kilometers an hour from current 40 kph

With these improvements, the government expects MRT 3 accommodate more passengers and reduce the long lines during peak hours.

Metro Pacific together with Ayala Corp. and Macquarie Infrastructure Holdings (Philippines) PTE Ltd. is a part of the Light Rail Manila Corp., the the consortium which bagged the contract for the Light Rail Transit Line 1 Cavite extension, operation and maintenance project.

It is also a part of the AF Payments Inc., the consortium with Ayala Corp., was awarded the Automatic Fare Collection System project for the country's railways.

Share price of Metro Pacific closed at P7 on Sept. 9, down P0.14 from previous week’s close.