AF Payments Inc. (AFPI), the operator of Beep card, will be giving away 125,000 free cards to EDSA Busway commuters who cannot afford one.
The Department of Transportation (DOTr), in a statement, lauded AFPI for its decision to give commuters free Beep cards until a QR-based electronic ticketing system becomes operational.
“We thank AFPI for seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, and for considering the plight of our commuters who have just started to rebuild back their lives after a series of strict quarantine measures that put pressure both on their social lives and livelihoods. For them, every centavo counts,” the statement read.
The decision comes after the suspension of the ‘No Beep Card, No Entry’ policy which was first implemented last October 1.
Meanwhile, the Transportation Department said they are also reviewing the possible implementation of the QR code-based electronic ticketing system on the EDSA Busway.
“With the use of a smartphone app and/or through online, passengers of vessels can now buy virtual tickets. As this is a contactless technology, commuters are best assured of proper social distancing needed to prevent transmission of the coronavirus,” the DOTr said. AAC
A transport group is questioning the ‘No Beep Card, No Ride’ policy which mandates commuters to have their own beep card with a secured maintaining balance to use the EDSA Busway.
Laban Konsyumer appealed to the Department of Transportation (DOTr) to suspend the policy until the end of the year. The group’s president Vic Dimaguiba said the department should first clarify the policy, especially when purchasing the cards and maintaining balance.
“Iyon po kasing sinasabi na kailangan may remaining balance na 65 pesos that’s a new policy. Ang pinaka-mahalaga po pag-aralan nila ay class ng consumer na gagamit ng beep card sa mga buses (What they say about having the remaining balance of 65 pesos, that’s a new policy. The most important thing they need to review is the class of consumers using beep cards in buses),” he said.
The Chief Commercial Officer of the AF Payments Inc. Sharon Fong, said the maintaining balance is needed in order for operators not to have income losses.
“Imagine this scenario if we do not do that and iyong pasahero pays for the lowest fare and ita-tap niya lang is 10 pesos and he took the farthest fare malulugi naman po ang operators (Imagine this scenario if we do not do that and the passenger pays for the lowest fare and only tapped 10 pesos and he took the farthest fare, the operators will sustain losses),” she said.
Meanwhile, the DOTr clarified the difference between Beep Cards and cards used in Beep Rides. In a statement, the DOTr said Beep Cards are used in EDSA Busways, MRT, and LRT while Beep Ride Cards are used in modern jeepneys.
“What that PUV operator is selling is different from the Beep Card (Not Beep Rides Card) being used at the EDSA Busway / MRT / LRT. The actual beep card is interoperable with MRT and LRT. Beep Rides is a totally different company offering AFCS and has totally nothing to do with Beep by AF Payments,” the statement reads. -AAC (with reports from Joan Nano)
MANILA, Philippines – The management of the Metro Rail Transit line 3 (MRT-3) on Wednesday announced it will increase train speed to 40 kilometers per hour (kph) starting Thursday, Oct. 1.
In an advisory, the MRT-3 said its passengers can now expect faster travel time and shorter waiting time for train arrival as its trains are set to travel on a speed higher that the current 30kph.
The MRT-3 management said this is a result of the installation of the new long-welded rails (LWRs) in all the MRT-3 stations as part of the massive rehabilitation program of the rail line, which is being implemented by Sumitomo-Mitsubishi Heavy from Japan.
The operating speed will gradually increase from 40kph in October to 50kph by November and 60kph by December 2020.
“After being able to increase the number of running trains, our next target is to increase the speed of our trains in the mainline, until it reaches 60kph,” MRT-3 Director for Operations Michael Capati said.
Despite the implementation of strict community quarantine amid the coronavirus pandemic, the MRT-3 management said it continued with the massive rehabilitation and rail replacement works.
The MRT-3 management said its rail replacement works was completed in September this year, several months ahead of its scheduled completion in February 2021.
Capati also said they are conducting monthly system check to test the alignment of the new tracks, the Overhead Catenary System (OCS), and signaling and communications to ensure that the trains are safe and secured while traveling along the mainline.
“Even during the implementation of strict community quarantine levels, with the approval of the IATF, we continued with the massive rehabilitation of the MRT-3, which includes replacing all worn out rails with new ones,” Department of Transportation (DOTr) Secretary Arthur Tugade said in a statement.
“Noong mga nakaraang buwan, naiayos natin ang mga bagon, ang mga aircon, maging ang mga elevator at escalator. Noong isang linggo, nagawa nating magpatakbo ng record-breaking number of trains sa MRT-3. Patunay lamang ‘yan na may Covid o wala, tuloy ang trabaho ng DOTr at ng MRT-3,” he added.
Prior to the completion of installation of the new LWRs, average train speed was 30kph with an average headway between 8.5 to 9 minutes for 20 trains.
“With the improvement on the running speed, waiting time is expected to be shortened to 6.5 to 7 minutes,” the MRT-3 said.
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