Cashless fare collection system launched in Baguio

BAGUIO CITY – Mayor Benjamin Magalong and SquidPay Technology Inc. Chief Operating Officer and President Enrico Tamayo signed a memorandum of agreement Monday at the Baguio City multi-purpose hall here to formalize the terms of cashless fare collection system to be implemented soon in the Summer Capital.

CASHLESS – Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong (center) inks a memorandum of agreement with Squid Pay, President Enrico Tamayo (left) and Baguio Vice-Mayor Faustino Olowan (right) as witness on Monday in Baguio City Hall Multipurpose Hall the first LGU in the entire country to go cashless transaction including cash dealings with the city as part of Baguio’s digitalization program and also to address contactless and person to person business transaction under COVID health guidelines. (Photo by JJ Landingin/ MANILA BULLETIN)

Magalong said the city was on the right track in pursuing cashless fare payment systems, considering the alarming increase in the number of transport workers infected by the coronavirus disease (COVID-19). 

“Although most of those affected are in the railway business, the public utility vehicle (PUV) sector remains at risk for using direct payment scheme that does not inhibit physical interaction,” Magalong added.

He said the system was going to be provided free of charge, and will not impose fees for the transactions. Only a refundable deposit for the device to be used by the PUVs will be charged.

“For now, we will introduce this slowly and next month we will test this on some PUV untils such time to be implement this to all. We targeted to six months to  fully implement it,” Magalong stressed.

Tamayo said, in preparation for rolling out the program, they have conducted seminars with the different public utility jeepney, taxi and UV Express associations.   

He said the scheme uses "cashless, contactless, and seamless payment transactions through tap cards, near-field communication (NFC) or QR codes", and was aligned with the new normal measures now being implemented in view of the continuing COVID threat.

The system will also be in line with the Smart City and digital transformation programs being pursued by the city government even before the health crisis struck.

Tamayo said the company was planning to set up business centers or booths in strategic places in the city, including terminals and barangay halls to sell or load tap cards that can be used to pay for the fares.

He said a card costs P100 with P45 as initial load, and P55 as deposit or maintaining balance which will be refundable once the client surrenders the card.

The system was first presented to the jeepney and taxi operators last June 24. The company will continue holding walk-through sessions for other sectors and end users to familiarize them on the system.