Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Ayala Corporation, one of the biggest business conglomerates in the Philippines, was seen at 6 a.m. today taking the Metro Rail Transit-3 (MRT-3).
According to reports, the businessman was accompanied by several Ayala Corporation officials to do an orientation tour of the interconnection of the MRT-3 and Light Rail Transit Line 1 (LRT-1). The group also did a field inspection of the “Beep cards” and the operation of the LRT-1 and LRT-2. The visit is meant to determine what improvements needed to be done in the train operations.
Ayala Corporation, in partnership with Metro Pacific Investments, Corp. (MPIC) in AF (Ayala-First Pacific) Payments, Inc., had won the bidding to set up a unified automatic fare collection system using contactless tickets for the mass rail system in January, 2014. The use of the “beep cards” commenced in May for LRT-2, June for MRT-3, and July for LRT-1 this year. It became fully operational last October.
Moreover, Ayala Corporation and MPIC are also part of a consortium called Light Rail Manila, Corp. (LRMC) that has taken over the operations and maintenance of LRT-1 last September 12, the first time that a train system was turned over to a private company under the Aquino administration’s Public-Private Partnership program (PPP). Under the consortium, commuters are expecting train service to improve. The consortium in the meantime promised the riding public that improvements will come in due course, as new trains shall be delivered by the government in 2017.
Apart from the operations and maintenance of LRT-1, the LRMC also won the bidding to extend the current Line-1 from Baclaran to Cavite. The project is expected to cost P65-billion.