By Danessa O. Rivera | gmanetwork  | March 31, 2014

The government and the AF consortium have sealed the deal to modernize the railway ticketing system which is expected to ease travel through Metro Manila's light trains system by September 2015.

"This is DOTC's first leap forward in modernizing transportation system from the archaic state of most of our facilities," DOTC Secretary Emilio Abaya said during the signing of concession agreement for the Automated Fare Collection System (AFCS) project held at the EDSA Shangri-La, Mandaluyong City.

He said the project will be completed by July 2015 and will be implemented in September 2015.

"Our contactless, tap-and-go common ticketing system will be in good hands with our top telcos and business conglomerates," he said.

Manuel V. Pangilinan, chairman of MPIC, said the consortium is seriously committed to modernizing the ticketing system within the timeframe.

"The hard work really begins this afternoon. We have about 18 months to deliver on the promise," he said.

Last January 30, the AF Consortium bagged the railway ticketing modernization contract of the Transportation Department under the flagship public-private partnership (PPP) program.

The AF Consortium is led by Ayala Corporation and Manuel V. Pangilinan's Metro Pacific Investments Corporation.

The group offered to pay the government P1.088 billion in premiums over a 10-year concession period.

The AFCS involves replacing the LRT lines 1 and 2 and the MRT line 3's ticketing system to a unified tap-and-go technology - much like Hong Kong's Octopus Card - and is seen to substantially lessen queuing time and allow seamless transfer from one rail line to another.

The contract involves a 10-year tenure, inclusive of two years of development and delivery.

The AFCS is the DOTC's most advanced PPP project in its pipeline. Among PPPs in the DOTC pipeline are the Mactan-Cebu Airport Project, LRT-1 Extension to Cavite, and the Integrated Transport System Project. — OMG, GMA News