Philippine Daily Inquirer - - BUSINESS INQ - By Miguel R. Ca­mus @Miguel­r­ca­musINQ

Ja­pan’s Su­mit­omo Corp. will in­crease the num­ber of train sets at the busy Metro Rail Tran­sit Line 3 and dras­ti­cally cut wait­ing times un­der a 43-month re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion and main­te­nance pro­gram that will start this year.

A copy of the agree­ment be­tween the De­part­ment of Trans­porta­tion (DOTr) and Su­mit­omo showed that the re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion is deemed com­plete when 18 train sets, each with three coaches, are avail­able dur­ing peak pe­ri­ods.

That tar­get is more than dou­ble the seven avail­able train sets around Fe­bru­ary 2018, when dis­rup­tions at the el­e­vated rail­way sys­tem travers­ing the Edsa in Metro Manila were also more fre­quent.

The trains will also need to run at a speed of 60 kilo­me­ters an hour, around dou­ble the cur­rent op­er­at­ing speed, the agree­ment showed.

As of Jan. 11, 2019, there were 15 train sets run­ning dur­ing peak hours while the av­er­age wait­ing time be­tween trains, or head­way, stood at seven min­utes. MRT 3 served about 355,000 pas­sen­gers that day.

In its 2018 an­nual re­port, re­leased on Mon­day, the DOTr said the re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion and main­te­nance pro­ject would run un­til 2022, or when Pres­i­dent Duterte’s term ends.

By the end of that pe­riod, it ex­pected MRT 3 to have 20 train sets serv­ing pas­sen­gers at in­ter­vals of 3.5 min­utes.

Su­mit­omo, the orig­i­nal main­te­nance provider for MRT 3’s first 12 years, was is­sued the no­tice of award last Dec. 27 to main­tain and re­ha­bil­i­tate the train sys­tem to its orig­i­nal con­di­tion.

The to­tal value of Su­mit­omo’s pro­posal was 36.92 bil­lion yen or P17 bil­lion, based on the res­o­lu­tion of the bids and awards com­mit­tee of the De­part­ment of Bud­get and Man­age­ment’s pro­cure­ment ser­vice that rec­om­mended the award to the Ja­panese in­dus­trial giant.

The con­tract will be funded by a loan from the Ja­pan In­ter­na­tional Co­op­er­a­tion Agency. The in­ter­est rate was set at 0.1 per­cent a year, payable in 28 years after a 12-year grace pe­riod.

Ac­cord­ing to the DOTr, the con­tract with Su­mit­omo would cover MRT 3’s electro­mechan­i­cal com­po­nents, power sup­ply, rail tracks, de­pot equip­ment and the over­haul of its 72 18year-old train coaches.

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