‘No Beep card, no entry’ policy in EDSA Busway starts October 1

Marje Pelayo   •   September 29, 2020   •   350

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Transportation (DOTr), through the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) on Monday (September 28) announced that starting October 1, it will implement the ‘no beep card, no entry’ policy in EDSA Busway System.

This is to achieve a fully cashless transaction on public utility buses (PUBs) of the EDSA Busway System as part of the agency’s added safety measures to reduce the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) associated with cash-handling in public transport.

“We want to ensure that commuters along EDSA will have a safer and comfortable travel, while at the same time providing them a more seamless and efficient system of public transport,” said DOTr Assistant Secretary for Road Transport and Infrastructure Steve Pastor.

At the same time, the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) is urging EDSA Busway patrons to purchase their Beep cards and to buy or put load in the cards to avoid inconveniences in payment once the automated fare collection system is implemented.

“As we are removing other potential health risks, we also want to limit the time spent in queues and lines that come with having to do cash payments,” said LTFRB Chairman Martin Delgra. 

“We are envisioning that even more public transport vehicles adopt digital transactions means, either through QR codes, online payments or tying up with cashless payment providers such as Beep.”

The EDSA Busway is a joint project of the DOTr, LTFRB and MMDA, with the vision to transport commuters from Monumento to PITX, through a dedicated median bus lane, within a significantly lower travel time (3 hours to just less than an hour).

It began its operations on July 1.

125,000 Beep cards to be given away free to EDSA Busway commuters

Aileen Cerrudo   •   October 6, 2020

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

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)

DOTr eyes regulating automated fare collection system providers

Marje Pelayo   •   October 5, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Transportation (DOTr) is eyeing to regulate automated fare collection system providers after recent issues with Beep cards in the EDSA Busway system. 

On Sunday (October 4) the DOTr suspended the implementation of the ‘No Beep Card, No Ride’ policy in EDSA Busway after the Beep card provider AF Payments Inc. refused to waive the P80 purchase fee of each card.

 “We are saddened by the refusal of AF Payments, Inc., the provider of the automatic fare collection system (AFCS) at the EDSA Busway, to waive the cost of the Beep card despite consistent pleas made by the government,” the DOTr said in a statement.

“This would have made a big difference to the commuters, mostly daily wage earners who are the most affected by the COVID-19 pandemic,” it added.

Despite this, the DOTr clarified that all previously purchased cards can still be used as long as they are loaded.

The DOTr was prompted to reimpose cash payments at EDSA Busway after commuters complained about “expensive” beep cards.

On Tuesday (October 6), stakeholders involved in the operation of EDSA bus way will meet to discuss plans on finding a new automated fare collection service provider that can give a much cheaper service.

Based on the existing system, the operator has the choice to commission a provider as long as it can make transactions cashless.

The agency will also look into other charges being carried on each Beep card such as convenience fee as well as issues on alleged maintaining balance.

The DOTr is also considering proposals to have only one card for all modes of transportations to support interoperability.

According to DOTr Asst. Secretary Alberto Suansing, three companies have already signified their offer of a cheaper automated fare collection system. MNP (with reports from Joan Nano)

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