Offer Beep cards for free – Tugade

As the “No Beep Card, No Ride” policy took effect on the EDSA Busway on Thursday, Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade called on the consortium operating the automatic fare collection system to offer the stored value cards for free.

Transporation secretary Arthur Tugade (ALI VICOY/ MANILA BULLETIN)
Transporation Secretary Arthur Tugade

"Dapat libre lang ang card (The card should be free). 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," Tugade said as he AF Payments, Inc. – a consortium of Ayala Group and First Pacific Group which operates the Beep payment system – to distribute the card free of charge upon fare load payment.

Commuters should also have the option to load the card with "whatever amount they need for the fare," he added.

The move came after Tugade and other officials of the Department "unanimously agreed" in a meeting on Wednesday that the cost of the stored value cards should not be passed to the riding public.

Tugade lamented that commuters, who are still reeling from the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, have to shell out an additional P30 to P50 for the price of the Beep card alone, on top of the initial fare load.

"Malaking bagay para sa mga ordinaryong manggagawa ang P30 to P50 na ikakaltas para bayaran ang card ng Beep (The P30 to P50 deduction to pay for the Beep card is a big deal for ordinary workers). They should be spared from the burden of having to pay the price of the Beep card on top of their fares,” he emphasized.

The cashless transaction system was fully implemented by the DOTr on passenger buses using the EDSA Busway System beginning October 1 as an added safety measures to further curb the spread of the virus through limited handling of cash between passengers and conductors.

Passengers will have to purchase the Beep card, which is valid for four years, where the fare will be deducted upon tapping at its fare collection machine to provide easier, modern, and more convenient ways of paying for the ride.

This system is also being used in Metro Manila’s major railways such as the LRT-1, LRT-2, and MRT-3, as well as some point-to-point buses and modern jeepneys across the country.

The Beep cards can be purchased in any LRT and MRT-3 stations, in all FamilyMart branches in Metro Manila, or 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.

To reload, passengers can go to any LRT and MRT stations, FamilyMart and Ministop branches, Bayad Center and their affiliates, or through Over-the-Air loading partners such as BPI, Eon by Unibank, Akulaku, and Justpayto.

The transport officials assured that implementing contactless payment systems will also complement other safety and health protocols being enforced by the government in public transport such as the required physical distancing, and mandatory wearing of face masks and face shields.