The Philippines’ Department of Transportation and Communications is starting a project that will speed up ticketing in the three train lines in Metro Manila, Philippines by introducing a common system across the entire network. Each line currently has separate ticketing systems.
The contactless tickets will use NFC technology to do away with long queues by allowing commuters to tap their tickets onto terminals. This lets users move onto the trains more quickly.
Efficiency in transportation is one of the biggest problems in the Philippines that has yet to be solved. In fact, a number of apps were created by some startups in an attempt to alleviate the pains of the commuters. However, the train systems in the country has yet to be improved.
Every train line in the city has long queues especially during rush hour. People want to avoid heavy traffic on the roads, so they try to avoid this with trains. However, since there are three lines with disparate systems, people have to bear the burden of lining up for tickets once they exit one line and enter another.
The Philippine government’s transportation agency opened the bidding for different consortium last week with the goal of finding a company that can provide them with “a sound and viable technical solution.”
Following this, a partnership of two conglomerates in the Philippines - Ayala Corporation and Metro Pacific Investments (MPIC) – has tentatively won in a bidding against five other consortium for the project.
Upon leading the bid, MPIC director Manny Pangilinan says their goal here is to make the Philippine train lines similar to the automated train systems in Singapore and Hong Kong.
Apart from improving the train systems, the Department is also looking into integrating similar automated technology into buses and toll roads. In addition, MPIC president Jose Marie Lim says the card system can also be applied into the retail market in the future such as micro retail payments and banking.
While the Ayala-Metro Pacific partnership led the bidding the final decision will take place within the next two weeks. Once the decision is in, it may be expected that the project will start by next year.
(Editing by Terence Lee)