Beep cards should be free: DOTr

Beep cards should be free: DOTr

MANILA – The operator of the Beep card cashless payment system on Friday said that the cards are still sold at a loss, while an official of the Department of Transportation (DOTr) said card costs should not be the burden of its users.

In a statement, AF Payments Inc. (AFPI), the operator of Beep cards, said its cards currently sold at PHP80 are “still partially subsidized”, noting it is a one-time purchase and its balance can be topped up with any amount.

“(As of) October 1, the Beep cards (are) sold for PHP80 at zero-profit, still partially subsidized as the full cost upon turnover to the buyer is more than PHP80,” AFPI said.

It said that while there is no minimum top-up value, Beep card users must ensure that there are enough funds on the card for it to be used.

DOTr Assistant Secretary Goddes Hope Libiran, in a message, reiterated the DOTr’s stance that Beep cards should be made free for its users in consideration of the plight of the commuting public in the midst of a pandemic.

“Yung PHP80 na ‘yan, pagkain at pamasahe na ng ordinaryong manggagawa ‘yan (PHP80 is already food and fare for the ordinary worker),” Libiran said.

AFPI, she said, has been operating the Beep card payment system on Metro Manila’s trains for several years and has already made a profit.

Kumita na sila. Ang hinihiling lang ni Secretary [Arthur] Tugade at ng DOTr, huwag ikargo sa mga pasahero ang cost ng sistema (They already made a profit. Secretary Tugade and the DOTr is simply asking that passengers should not be burdened with the system’s costs),” Libiran said.

Following the enforcement of a “no Beep card, no ride” in city buses along the EDSA Busway on Thursday, passengers complained of discrepancies and high prices for Beep cards—about PHP70 to PHP100 without load or stored value.

The DOTr said the Beep payment system was chosen by bus operators of the EDSA Busway for its interconnectivity with Metro Manila trains and added it will talk with AFPI and seek to have the cards provided for free. (PNA