Posted on June 11, 2013 · Posted in Scotland

The presentation by Jim Douglas of URS, also the IRO Scotland Area Chair, on 10 April 2013, explained the Manila Metro project in the Philippines and how URS is providing technical support.

The Metro serves an area with a population of 11.6m. The area produces 32% of the country’s GDP and 50% of its industrial products. It also has a strong service industry, for example in call centres. It has been relatively unaffected by recession. With a considerable American influence road transport dominates transport arrangements.

There is one poorly maintained heavy rail route and three metro routes, line 1 (Yellow), line 2 (Megatren) and line 3 (MRT). The project being supported by URS is focussed on lines 1 and 2.

The Line 1 project will see the route moving from public ownership to a “public private partnership” (PPP). The new concessionaire will probably be expected to take the fare box risk. There will be a 32 year concession and a 12km extension (to a route of 13.9 km) and 10 additional stations (to the 20 existing) will be built.

Line 1 has not been well maintained and generally draws its custom from people with low income. Whilst there are two signalling systems the control centre is of an IECC type. Units are 3 or 4 car with distributed power and the various types are incompatible. Up to 25% of units are out of service at any one time. Part of the route is ballasted and part not and there are other infrastructure challenges. However, daily system reliability is 98% and delays are dealt with efficiently.

The Line 2 project will similarly see a move to PPP. There will be a 7 km extension (to a route of 13.52 km) and 3 additional stations (to the existing 11).

Overall Jim gave a fascinating presentation highlighting the challenges of bringing private money and practices into two, somewhat neglected routes, but also illustrating the very positive opportunities which existed.