public transportation

SBMA approves cashless public buses for Subic Freeport

Randy V. Datu
SBMA approves cashless public buses for Subic Freeport

Autokid public utility buses using an automated fare collection system will soon see operation in the Subic Bay Freeport Zone.

SBMA Photo

The main feature of the new line of public bus system inside the Subic Freeport is its automated fare collection system

To further promote public health safety in the face of the pandemic, the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) has approved cashless payments in the public transportation system in this premier freeport.

SBMA Chairman and Administrator Wilma T. Eisma said the agency recently gave its go-signal for Autokid Truck Solutions to create a line of public utility buses that would use an automated fare collection system (AFCS) and be compliant with physical distancing rules as well.

“This is an innovative concept that fulfils a felt need in this time of the pandemic, so we’re going for it,” Eisma said.

“With this, we can minimize the dangers of virus transmission, thus creating a better environment for workers, residents and visitors in the Subic Freeport,” she added.

According to Autokid Subic Trading Corporation CEO Kevin McHale Yao, the proposed project would provide an efficient, environment-friendly, and safe and comfortable transportation for the public.

“Public transportation services (PTS) is a vital part of modern urban economies. An efficient PTS encourages passengers to use public services instead of private vehicles,” Yao said.

“This preference reduces traffic, air and noise pollution, and accident rate in cities,” he added.

Foremost among the features of the new system is the use of loadable payment cards that would preclude the need for passengers to carry cash for their bus fare.

Yao also stressed the added advantage of predictable travel time, as the firm would regularly deploy vehicles at a certain time period so that the public would know exactly when to expect the buses.

The company has proposed 3 bus routes in Subic’s Central Business District. One will be from Kalaklan Terminal to Main Gate Terminal and vice versa, another from Main Gate Terminal to Royal Duty Free and vice versa, and the third from Main Gate Terminal to Kalaklan to Royal Duty Free to Main Gate.

The proposed fares will be P25 per person for the first two routes, and P30 per person for the third route, which is longer.

The SBMA and the company were already discussing a dry-run of the routes for which the buses would be fielded to see how the plans would actually work out.

Yao also pointed out that Autokid would field environment-friendly buses that are Euro IV-compliant, using Yuchai engines. He added that the units would be equipped with comfortable seats, air-conditioning, a global positioning system (GPS), and closed-circuit television camera (CCTV) to ensure the safety of the riding public.

Following the approval of Autokid’s proposal last month, the SBMA had required the firm to register its fleet of motor vehicles and have its drivers accredited by the agency. –