Metro Pacific Investments Corp., a unit of the Hong Kong-based First Pacific Group, has committed to invest for the rehabilitation of the 11-year-old Metro Rail Transit Line 3 in Edsa.
“We have initial discussions with the government on how we can work together for [MRT-3],” Metro Pacific chairman Manuel Pangilinan said in an interview late Monday.
Opened in 1999, the 13-kilometer MRT 3 runs from North Avenue in Quezon City to Taft Avenue in Pasay City, where average daily ridership is estimated at 400,000. The system has 24 trains. Around 20 are plying the stretch simultaneously during peak hours while the rest are being refurbished or under repair.
Pangilinan said Metro Pacific planned to increase the capacity of the train system by adding modern rails cars, refurbishing the old trains, expanding the platforms, increasing the number of escalators and improving the signages, lighting and signaling systems.
“It badly needs improvement,” he said.
Pangilinan said Metro Pacific, after acquiring the the 29-percent stake of the Sobrepeña group, was keen on raising its stake in the train system by bringing in additional capital for its rehabilitation.
“We prefer to put the money into the system to expand and upgrade it than to take out the existing shareholders,” he said.
Pangilinan said Metro Pacific though had started preliminary talks with private shareholders over the possible sale of their stake in the MRT 3.
MRT general manager Glicerio Sicat said in a phone interview that the government was open to selling its stake to Metro Pacific and settle for concession fees. Jeremiah F. de Guzman
Thursday, 16 December 2010