The Department of Transportation (DOTr) has insisted the beep cards for cashless fare payment by bus passengers should be free and its costs should not be a burden to its users.
In a statement, however, 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.
Following the enforcement of a “no Beep card, no ride” in city buses along the EDSA Busway last Thursday, bus passengers complained of discrepancies and high prices of the Beep cards sold, allegedly ranging from P70 to P100 per card 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.
AFPI said “the Beep cards are sold for P80 at zero-profit, still partially subsidized,” and while there is no minimum top-up value, their users must ensure that there are enough funds on the card for it to be used.
In a message, DOTr Assistant Secretary Goddes Hope Libiran reiterated the DOTr’s posutuin that the Beep cards should be made free for its users to save commuters from undue burden in this time of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Libiran pointed out that AFPI has been operating the Beep card payment system on Metro Manila’s trains for many years now and has already made a huge profit on them.
“They already made a profit. Secretary Tugade and the DOTr simply appeal that passengers should no longer be burdened with the system’s costs),” Libiran said.