The mass transport system in Metro Manila has lately been the subject of public scrutiny. As the lines at the MRT-3 and the EDSA Carousel stations pile up, concerned government agencies are now desperate to find a solution.
In the midst of all this, the Department of Transportation (DOTr) is now looking to roll out a new automated fare-collection system (AFCS). According to a report by The Philippine Star, this new AFCS will be part of a massive P4.5 billion project that will enable commuters to use credit and debit cards to pay fares for public transport.
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The government is reportedly eyeing to launch this new AFCS in 1.5 to two years. The feasibility study for this project will be submitted to the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) for review.
“We have to finalize the feasibility study that will be submitted to NEDA, which is in the final stage,” said DOTr undersecretary Cesar Chavez. “I think in the next three months, we can discuss it with NEDA already. In 1.5 to two years, you can use credit cards in public transportation without hassle.”
With the new AFCS, the DOTr aims to cater to a wide array of card issuers including Mastercard and Visa to allow passengers to pay fares using credit or debit. This will be available not just in buses and jeepneys, but also in railways and airline services. The new AFCS will also complement the existing cashless payment system, as the former will also be able to accept Beep cards in the future.
This project looks nice and all, but is it the project we need right now given the current state of public transport in the city? Besides, not all passengers have debit or credit cards. At the end of the day, commuters deserve better, and no one wants a repeat of the ‘No Beep card, no ride’ fiasco.
Anyway, your thoughts on this one, readers?