AF Consortium Gets PhP1.72B AFCS Project

Manila—(PHStocks)—The AF Consortium of conglomerates Metro Pacific Investments Corp. (PSE: MPI) and Ayala Corp. (PSE: AC), composed of AC Infrastructure Holdings Corporation, the infrastructure arm of Ayala, BPI Card Finance Corporation, Globe Telecom Inc. (PSE: GLO), Meralco Financial Services Corporation, MPIC and Smart Communications Inc., received by electronic mail a copy of the Notice of Award after close of business hours last 30 January 2014 from the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) declaring it the winning bidder for the PhP1.72-billion contactless Automatic Fare Collection System Project (AFCS).

The AFCS, patterned after mass rail transport payment systems in developed countries such as Singapore’s EZ Link Card, will upgrade the Light Rail Transit and Metro Rail Transit ticketing system by substantially speeding up payments, reducing queuing time and allowing passengers seamless transfers from one rail line to another.

“We are pleased to help in modernizing our rail transport system and ease the burden of millions of commuters who use our train systems daily,” MPIC chairman, Manuel V. Pangilinan said. “We believe our strategic alliance with Ayala will result in an efficient, convenient and integrated light transit system network similar to our neighboring Asian nations.”

Ayala Chairman Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala commented, “We are delighted to partner with the Metro Pacific group in this project. We believe that given the combined strengths and management capabilities of both groups, we can deliver a payment platform that will serve the daily rail commuters more efficiently and significantly upgrade our rail ticketing system to global standards.”

After a thorough post-qualification evaluation process, the DOTC awarded the project to AF Consortium of MPIC and Ayala, which offered the government a premium of PhP1,088,103,900.00 on top of the cost of designing and constructing, and managing the implementation and operation of a contactless AFCS based on smart card technology.

The AF Consortium, by far the strongest exclusive partnership ever formed by two of the leading conglomerates in the country today, has strong track record and experience in operating banking and payments, water, utilities, retail, healthcare, telecommunications and toll road businesses. The AF Consortium is partnering with MSI Global, a respected world-class rail, transport and retail payments provider using similar technology with proven credentials in this field having implemented many successful on-going payment solutions worldwide most notably in Singapore as the technology provider of the EZ link card.

Contactless smart card technology ticketing system

The contactless smart card technology ticketing system is expected to facilitate efficient passenger transfer to other rail lines, and enhance fare collection. It would benefit more than one million passengers using LRT 1, LRT 2 and MRT 3 rail lines daily commuting from North to South of the metropolis, ensuring seamless interconnection for travelers and removing the current inconvenience of the need to buy separate tickets for separate lines.

The new smart card ticketing system would replace the current magnetic stripe ticketing system that is very much at the end of its useful life with more powerful chip-based version. It can also serve as an electronic micropayment solution in day-to-day payments, or as identifier for loyalty schemes, facility access and location-based services. AFCS has the business potential to expand to other modes of transport, such as buses, and toll roads. The AF Consortium likewise has the option to extend the contactless card system to other businesses outside of the transportation sector, such as in retail, parking, and security applications.

Under the project, the AF Consortium will form a team of technical design and software development experts to work on the new smart card based ticketing system before it becomes available for use by train commuters in the third quarter of 2015.

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