beep™ cards now fully operational on MRT3, LRT1, LRT2

beep™ cards now fully operational on MRT3, LRT1, LRT2
The consortium behind the PPP project hopes the card’s interoperability feature will offer some improvement to the overall commuting experience

MANILA, Philippines – The unified ticketing system is now usable on Metro Manila’s 3 elevated railway transit systems.

“In the past, train riders who had to transfer between LRT (Light Rail Transit) and MRT (Metro Rail Transit), which ran on two different payment systems, needed two different payment cards. This translated to double the wait in lines and double the hassle to pay,” AF Payments Incorporated said in a statement released Monday, October 5.

The beepTM card, was first used on LRT 2 on July 20 of this year, LRT 1 on August 16, and MRT 3 on October 3.

AF Payments President and CEO Peter Maher said one of the objectives of the unified automated fare collection system (AFCS, as envisioned by the Department of Transportation and Communications) was to provide a seamless transfer from one line to another. 

“We are pleased to say that commuters can now enjoy this convenience. We hope that the beepTM card’s interoperability feature will offer some improvement to the overall commuting experience of the Filipino,” Maher said.

AF Payments, the consortium of Ayala Corporation and Metro Pacific Investments Corporation, is behind the P1.7-billion ($36.59-million) public-private partnership project.

Not smooth

On morning of October 5, some turnstiles and ticket vending machines at the Ayala MRT station conked out, which were quickly repaired by the technical staff, ABS-CBN reported.

The weekend launch at MRT3 was not enough as the deluge of passengers were greeted with the new system Monday, thereby causing longer lines, as riders are instructed to tap once and lightly their beepTM cards.

In two months, the riders will get used with the contactless tap-and-go card use, said MRT3 General Manager Roman Buenafe. The railway system staff is also learning the ins and outs of the AFCS, he added.

Most riders still lament that while the new ticketing system is an improvement, the management should instead focus further on the timely arrivals and well-maintained trains for MRT3 passengers’ comfortable riding experience.

Work ongoing

AF Payments said its technical and operations team will now focus on ensuring that feedback from the train operators and the riding public are being consolidated, reviewed, and assessed to see how the company can further improve the system. 

“We will continue to work hard to ensure that all the equipment, from the gates to the ticket vending machines and the point-of-sale computers are well maintained,” Maher said.

AF Payments is also working on new partnerships with key retailers. Riders can expect to see new loading and acceptance points outside the stations in the coming months.

A total of 50,000 beepTM cards were sold during pre-selling last week in key MRT stations.

Total sales to date of beepTM cards crossed the 500,000 mark, a milestone achievement, AF Payments said. – Rappler.com

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