Audit on Dalian trains to conclude March 10

MANILA The Department of Transportation (DOTr) expects the audit on the 48 trains delivered from Dalian CCRC for the Metro Rail Transit Line 3 (MRT-3) to be completed by March 10.??

The audit of the independent audit and assessment (IAA) consultant TUV Rheinland would be vital in determining whether the Dalian trains can be used for the MRT system.

??Ang sinasabi nila ay they will be able to finish it by March 10. Using that expert opinion audit report, then we can rightfully say ito ba talaga ang problema? Will Dalian be able to operate? We don't know. (They told us that they will be able to finish it by March 10. Using that expert opinion audit report, then we can rightfully say is this really the problem? Will Dalian be able to operate? We don't know), DOTr Secretary Arthur Tugade said in a television interview Monday.??

Last January, the DOTr has completed the procurement of an IAA Consultant that will evaluate and make recommendations on what to do with the 48 Dalian cars or Light Rail Vehicles (LRVs) in addition to evaluating and making recommendations for other components of MRT-3.??

Concerns were raised earlier with the 48 LRVs procured by the previous administration for PHP3.8 billion after they exceeded the weight prescribed in the Terms of Reference (49,700-kg vs. 46,300-kg). Compatibility with the MRT-3's maintenance facilities and signaling system were also an issue.??

With the current fleet of Czech-made trains, MRT-3 can operate up to 20 3-car trains.

If the 48 LRVs are cleared to run, that can be increased to 20 4-car trains.

??Tugade also said that MRT operations is expected to improve by April or May as spare parts which are necessary for the increase in the number of running trains are set to arrive in the country.

??Madadagdagan ang tren na tumatakbo, mababawasan ang mga glitches. (There will be more trains, glitches will be lessened). If spare parts are there, this will lead to improvement, according to the transportation secretary.??

A Special Bids and Awards Committee (BAC) created by the DOTr has completed the procurement of spare parts last December with a delivery lead time of 30 to 90 days.

The initial batch of parts has started arriving this month.??

The DOTr has also signed an agreement with Canadian firm Bombardier Transportation for the procurement of spare parts for the signaling system of the MRT-3.??

The repair of the MRT system is expected to cost around PHP400 million and last for six months.??

Tugade likewise said he prefers that the operations and maintenance of the railway system be done by the private sector as the department seeks to finish the deliberations on the MRT takeover within this year.??

The DOTr has granted the original proponent status to Metro Pacific Investments Corporation (MPIC) for MRT's rehabilitation, operations and maintenance.??

The firm's proposal has been submitted to the National Economic Development Authority and will undergo Swiss Challenge once it is approved providing an opportunity for other companies to make competing offers while giving the original proponent to match them.??

Ang plano they will take everything: management, operations and equity. Kapag nabigay po natin ang gobyerno wala pribado lang maganda yun. Basta regular ang pasok ng revenue takes sa gobyerno through royalties or fees. (The plan is they will take everything: management, operations and equity. It is good if the private sector will take over. As long as the government will be able to receive revenues regularly through royalties or fees), Tugade said.??

Under its proposal, MPIC will rehabilitate the train systems of the MRT and take over its operations for a period of 32 years.

It is likewise eyeing to buy out the government's stake in the railway system held by the Land Bank of the Philippines and the Development Bank of the Philippines as well as other shareholders.??

The rehabilitation, operations and maintenance would be pursued through a separate special purpose vehicle similar to the Light Rail Manila Corporation which operates the Light Rail Transit Line 1.

Source: Philippine News Agency