LTFRB orders removal of card fees for stored value cards in PUVs

Marje Pelayo   •   October 7, 2020   •   123

MANILA, Philippines — The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB), through Memorandum Circular 2020-057, ordered all automated fare collection system (AFCS) providers to remove card fees for stored-value cards used in public utility vehicles (PUVs).

“The Board hereby directs all Public Utility operators and/or Automatic Fare Collection Systems (AFCS) to remove any charges or fees imposed for the purchase/use of their cards on top of the fare load,” the memorandum said covering all buses, modern jeepneys and taxis among others.

The measure was in response to President Rodrigo Duterte’s call following complaints from passengers of the EDSA Busway System over ‘expensive’ Beep cards at P80.00.

Failure to comply with the directive would incur them fines or suspension.

“Failure  of the concerned operator and/or provider to comply with this issuance shall cause for the immediate suspension of the automatic fare collection system, aside from the penalties to be imposed pursuant to existing issuances of this Board against the operators concern,” the memorandum stressed.

Beep card operator AF Payments Incorporated said it has not received a copy of the memorandum just yet and discussions are still ongoing on the matter.

But at Monumento station in Caloocan, purchase of Beep cards has been suspended and only the fare loading service is allowed.

The agency will have the Memorandum Circular printed and published in major newspapers and the directive will be in effect starting October 9.

Still, the ‘No Beep card, No Ride’ policy remains suspended at EDSA Busway system. MNP (with details from Joan Nano)

LTFRB opens 44 new PUJ routes, allows 4,820 more jeepneys on Metro Manila streets

Marje Pelayo   •   October 14, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Transportation (DOTr) through the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) has opened additional 44 routes of the traditional public utility jeepneys (PUJ) on Tuesday (October 13). 

Aside from this, the agency also allowed 4,820 PUJ units to ply routes in Metro Manila as stated in the Memorandum Circular 2020-058 dated Saturday (October 10).

Overall, a total of 27,016 traditional PUJs are now operating on 302 routes across Metro Manila since the government opened transportation with the implementation of General Community Quarantine (GCQ).

The agency said it is working on opening more routes for PUVs to address the need for mass transport as business further reopen. 

This was after public transport capacity was limited amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. 

Public Utility Vehicle (PUV) unit breakdown in Metro Manila since operation started on June 1, 2020:

Traditional Public Utility Jeepney (PUJ)

  • No. of routes opened: 302
  • No. of authorized units: 27,016

Modern Public Utility Jeepney (PUJ)

  • No. of routes opened: 48
  • No. of authorized units: 845

Public Utility Buses (PUB)

  • No. of routes: 34
  • No. of authorized units: 4,016

Point-to-point buses (P2P)

  • No. of routes opened: 34
  • No. of authorized units: 387

UV Express

  • No. of routes opened: 76
  • No. of authorized units: 3,263

Taxi

  • No. of authorized units: 20,927

Transport Network Vehicles Services (TNVS)

  • No. of authorized units: 24,356

Provincial Public Utility Bus (PUB)

  • No. of routes opened: 12
  • No. of authorized units: 286

Modern UV Express

  • No. of routes opened: 2
  • No. of authorized units: 40

Distribution of free stored value cards for public utility vehicles starts Oct. 9

Marje Pelayo   •   October 8, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Starting Friday (October 9), automated fare collection system (AFCS) providers will be distributing free stored value cards that passengers may use in selected public utility vehicles.

The AFCS providers said they are willing to adhere to the directives of the government although they are also requesting a subsidy to cover the production cost of the cards.

The AFCS stopped the sale of stored value cards following an order from the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) to remove the fees of all automated fare cards that are being used in public utility buses and jeepneys.

Among the AFCS providers that are currently operational include the Beep card, BeepRides, Trip Ko, SquidPay and the Pearl Card.

SquidPay said they will abide by the LTFRB directive but the P55 deposit in each of their cards will remain.

“Kapag binalik ang card ng user pwedeng ibalik ang 55 pesos. Meron din kasi kaming option to own the card, so kapag na-purchase mo siya na may pangalan, hindi mo na pwedeng i-refund [Once the user returns the card, the P55 pesos (deposit) may be refunded. Since we have an option to own the card, when you purchase a card with a name, you cannot refund it],” said Andrea Pascual, SquidPay’s Corporate Relations Officer.

BeepRides, meanwhile, said they are willing to obey the government’s orders but definitely there will be problems along the way. 

“Admittedly this is going to be a problem. We were consulted on the cost of the card but not the other charges. We will have to discuss this with the bus consortium. BeepRides will cooperate and abide by the new government policy direction.  We will discuss this new policy with the bus consortium and decide the next steps moving forward,” explained BeepRides Chairman Atty. Vigor Mendoza.

Government subsidy is also what the Senate Employees Transport Service Cooperative (SETSCO) is requesting citing the possible impact of the directive on their operations.

SETSCO, which manages the Pearl Car, claimed that they were not consulted about the matter. 

The LTFRB, however, denied this saying AFCS providers were consulted and it was even agreed in the discussion that they can waive the fees for the cards.

The LTFRB added that the government cannot subsidize all AFCS providers since the government has no budget for it.

The agency’s warning remains that it will suspend or fine all AFCS providers who will not comply with the new government directive. -MNP (with reports from Joan Nano)

Duterte wants Beep cards to be given free of charge

Marje Pelayo   •   October 6, 2020

MANILA, Philippines —President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday evening (October 5) addressed the Beep card woes in the EDSA Busway system following complaints from commuters over the card’s high price which prompted the Department of Transportation to suspend the implementation of its mandatory Beep card policy.

The President said he wants the Beep cards to be given free of charge to poor commuters.

Iyang (Beep) card, card lang naman iyan. Ibigay na iyan ng libre. Bakit pabayaran pa iyan? ” he said. 

“We’re wasting so many billions on corruption tapos iyan hindi maibigay? That’s why I want to talk to Secretary Tugade next meeting because I would raise the possibility of giving it free,” he added.

Duterte said he will look for resources to fund the subsidized Beep cards. 

The issue stemmed from the refusal of the automated fare collection system provider, AF Payments Inc., to waive the P80 cost of Beep cards.

Following the complaints, the company vowed to give away 125,000 free Beep cards to commuters who cannot afford one. 

Kami dito sa itaas, nakikita namin how it affects the human person. Trabaho namin iyan,” President Duterte said. 

“If there is no relief in sight or if it cannot be done immediately, I suggest we find the money and give it to the public free, para walang gulo at lahat mayroon,” he said. MNP (with details from Rosalie Coz)

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