By Justine Irish D. Tabile, Reporter
THE Department of Transportation (DoTr) is considering offering Metro Rail Transit Line 3 (MRT-3) with Light Rail Transit Line 2 (LRT Line 2) as a bundle when the commuter transport services are privatized.
Transportation Undersecretary for Railways Cesar B. Chavez said in an interview that the DoTr has created a task force to plan out the privatization of MRT-3, which traverses the main Metro Manila artery, Epifanio de los Santos Avenue, and LRT Line 2, which links the City of Manila to eastern Metro Manila.
“Wala pang final (decision) pero in principle approved na ni Secretary Jaime J. Bautista ang bundling (Nothing is final yet, but Secretary Bautista has approved in principle the bundling for privatization),” Mr. Chavez said.
The DoTr is planning ahead for the expiry of the MRT-3 operator Metro Rail Transit Corp.’s build, lease, and transfer agreement in 2025.
A separate company, Light Rail Manila Corp. (LRMC), operates LRT Line 2.
“Ang daming options either independent operation and maintenance under LRMC or i-bundle namin ’yung MRT-3 sa LRT Line 2 (There are many options: either independent operation and maintenance under LRMC or bundle MRT-3 with LRT Line 2),” Mr. Chavez said.
Mr. Chavez also said that the department is considering variations to its plan of privatizing the operations and maintenance (O&M) of MRT-3 and LRT Line 2.
The options the DoTr is considering are: O&M of both railway systems with the LRT Line 2 extension to Tutuban, Divisoria and Pier 4; O&M plus the rehabilitation of light rail vehicles; or O&M and the replacement of the light rail vehicles.