The “BeepRides” card offered to passengers of modern jeepneys is different from the “Beep” card being used on the EDSA Busway and Metro Manila’s railway systems, the Department of Transportation (DOTr) explained.
The two cashless cards confused the riding public after a commuter shared in a now-viral post that e-jeepneys are also using tap-to-pay cards similar to those being used in the MRT, LRT, and the EDSA Busway.
Commuter Kristina Conti took to social media her experience of paying P150 for a BeepRides card which she was told was different from the Beep cards for buses and rail lines.
“Kanina nagpalit na ng sistema yung mga e-jeep, yung blue. Kailangan na ng [BeepRides] card na bibilhin mo sa halagang P150, may load na P50. Tinanong ko kay ateng nagbebenta kung pareho sa Beep sa MRT/LRT, hindi raw. Mapilitan ka talagang bumili (Earlier, the blue e-jeeps have also changed its payment system. You need to buy a BeepRides card for P150, with a load of P50. I asked the seller if it was the same with Beep cards on the MRT or LRT, but she said that it is not. You will definitely be forced to purchase the card),” Conti said in her post.
Conti lamented the hefty cost of the new BeepRides card, aside from another P180 for the Beep cards needed to ride buses and rail lines.
Transportation Assistant Secretary Goddess Libiran explained the BeepRides card was different from the Beep cards operated by the AF Payments, Inc. and being used at the EDSA Busway, LRT Lines 1 and 2, and MRT-3.
“Magkaiba ang Beep sa BeepRides (Beep is different from BeepRides). What that PUV operator is selling is different from the Beep card being used at the EDSA Busway, MRT, and LRT. The actual Beep card is interoperable with MRT and LRT,” Libiran explained.
“BeepRides is a totally different company offering an automatic fare collection system and has nothing to do with electronic payment provider Beep by the AF Payments,” she added.
The BeepRides card is also an electronic card being used to pay fares on modernized jeepney units named “Bagong Jeepney” or “Beep” with routes in Marikina, QMC Loop, Paranaque Integrated Terminal Exchange (PITX), as well as in Cebu.
Libiran earlier clarified that it is the PUV operator who chooses which automatic fare collection system (AFCS) they will use for their operations, as long as it is in line with the DOTr’s directive to utilize contactless transactions in public transport.
BeepRides also enforced a “No Card, No Entry” policy for its entire fleet last October 1, at the same time when the DOTr fully implemented the “No Beep Card, No Ride” directive for passenger buses in the EDSA Busway.
The cashless transaction system is part of the transport agency’s safety measures to further curb the spread of the virus through avoiding or minimizing physical contact in PUVs.
However, the new policy was opposed by various groups due to the high cost of cards that they said are being passed to commuters, mostly workers who just got back to work due to the health crisis.
Thinktank Infrawatch PH said the DOTr should resolve first all public concerns regarding the contactless payment system before it was implemented.
Terry Ridon, Infrawatch PH convenor and former House transport committee member, emphasized that the P180 cost of new Beep cards is already equivalent to 32 percent of Metro Manila’s minimum wage and eight days of roundtrip transport costs.
“There should be no doubt in our minds that there appears to be a clear attempt to make profit at the expense of users of the new EDSA busway system, under the pretext of social distancing and the coronavirus pandemic,” Ridon said in a statement.
DOTr Secretary Arthur Tugade earlier said that he had already directed 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.