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Friday, October 2, 2020

Tugade Wants Consortium to Give Beep Cards for Free to Commuters



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Department of Transportation (DOTr) Secretary Arthur P. Tugade recently gave orders to key officials from the DOTr rail and road sector to ensure that the consortium that operates the automatic fare collection system being used in the Metro Manila rail systems and on the EDSA Busway to just give for free the stored value cards or “beep” cards to commuters once they buy the load for the fare, even with the minimum amount they need.

Secretary Tugade lamented that commuters who are still reeling from the effects of the pandemic have to shell out an additional PHP30 to PHP50 for the price of the beep card on top of the initial fare load.

“Dapat libre lang ang card. We are still under quarantine measures. Workers who have just returned to work are the main users of the rail system and the EDSA Busway. Malaking bagay para sa mga ordinaryong manggagawa ang P30-P50 na ikakaltas para bayaran ang card ng Beep. Pasahe din ‘yun. They should be spared from the burden of having to pay the price of the beep card on top of their fares,” Sec. Tugade said.

Secretary Tugade and senior officials of the DOTr met yesterday, 30 September, to discuss the issue of the beep card cost which is being passed on to commuters, on top of the fare or the stored value on the card.

The DOTr officials unanimously agreed that the cost of the stored value card should not be passed to the commuters as the department ordered AF Payments, Inc., the consortium composed of conglomerates Ayala Group and First Pacific Group to just give the cards for free. Commuters should also have the option to load the card with whatever amount he needs for the fare.

As part of measures to contain the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), the DOTr has ordered the enforcement of a cashless automatic fare collection scheme on public utility buses that ply the EDSA Busway route starting 01 October 2020. The cashless fare collection scheme will be using the beep card.

Aside from buses plying the EDSA Busway, the beep card can be used to pay fares in LRT-1, LRT-2, and MRT-3 train lines, and some point-to-point buses, as well as modern public utility vehicles. Fare is deducted from the card once it is tapped at a fare collection machine.

The EDSA Busway, which became operational on July 1, covers bus stops along the middle lanes of EDSA. It runs from Monumento, Caloocan to the PITX or the ParaƱaque Integrated Terminal Exchange.

Passengers can purchase beep cards in LRT and MRT-3 stations, in all Metro Manila branches of FamilyMart as well as in bus terminals such as HM Transport in Alabang Town Center and Market! Market!; BGC Bus in EDSA, Market! Market! and Bonifacio One Technology Tower; and RRCG in Alabang Town Center, Greenbelt 1, Greenbelt 5, Star Mall Alabang, and Starmall Shaw.

The beep card is valid for four years. Commuters can reload their beep cards in LRT and MRT-3 stations, FamilyMart and Ministop branches, outlets of Bayad Center and their affiliates, or via Over-the-Air or OTA loading partners such as BPI, Eon by Unibank, Akulaku, and Justpayto.

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