Can Metro Pacific, Ayala Corp. Really Make MRT-3 Viable?

Editorial cartoon by Ed Rompal

The partnership between Metro Pacific Investments Corp. and Ayala Corp. has offered P20 billion to rehabilitate, operate, and maintain Metro Rail Transit Line 3 that plies the 16.8-kilometer EDSA route from SM North to Taft Avenue.

In the last few years, what should be the fastest and most convenient conveyance has been breaking down as often as once a week, stops in between stations, no air-conditioning, or locks in commuters for hours. This year is the worse as the breakdown for whatever reason has increased to at least twice in a week. Running at only 20kph from the usual 50kph, the one-way stretch used to take only up to 35 minutes is now 50 minutes. That is if the train completes the run.

Based on ticket sales, commuters jam pack up to 500,000 a day when the capacity should only be 350,000.   

As early as 2011, business mogul Manuel V. Pangilinan, saw this coming. He offered to buy out all stakeholders including the government with a pledge not to increase fares in two years from time of acquisition. There is no indication, though, that this is happening soon. The terms of the proposal tendered by MPIC-Ayala Consortium are still under scrutiny by the National Economic Development Authority. 

The original was an unsolicited proposal from MPIC.

Under the new proposal, the MPIC-Ayala group proffered to fully take over the whole operations of the line. Presently, the consortium controls and manages the Light Rail Manila Corp., operating Light Rail Transit Line 1. An LRT extension to Cavite will soon be underway.

Can MPIC and Ayala make MRT 3 a viable venture despite maintenance woes and debts incurred?

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Monday, 19 February 2018
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