Unified ticketing for railways to boost e-payments scheme
Louella Desiderio (The Philippine Star) - August 1, 2015 - 10:00am

MANILA, Philippines - The country’s move to implement a unified ticketing system for its railways is expected to increase the use of electronic payments (e-payments) and promote financial inclusion.

Orlando Vea, chief executive officer of Voyager Innovations and Smart eMoney Inc. said the successful trial of the Automatic Fare Collection System (AFCS) for the country’s light rail systems would further boost e-payments adoption in the country and help in unlocking digital financial inclusion for Filipinos.

“Transport is one of the keys to jumpstarting electronic payment ecosystem in emerging markets and the recent successful trial of the touch-and-go light rail payment Beep card is good in pushing take up of more digital financial services. In the long run, this will help unlock financial inclusion by providing benefits especially to the unbanked and uncarded,” he said.

Voyager and Smart eMoney are subsidiaries of the country’s largest wireless provider Smart Communications Inc.

Both are also part of a private sector initiative aimed at making financial services accessible to more Filipinos.

The AFCS is a project under the public private partnership (PPP) program awarded to AF Payments Inc., a consortium composed of AC Infrastructure Holdings Corp., BPI Card Finance Corp., and Globe Telecom Inc. for the Ayala Group, as well as Meralco Financial Services Corp. and Smart Communications Inc. for Metro Pacific Investments Corp.

The implementation of the AFCS involves replacing the old magnetic based tickets to contactless smart card technology which allows passengers to easily transfer to the different rail lines of Metro Rail Transit Line 3 and Light Rail Transit (LRT) Lines 1 and 2.

The Beep cards being used under the AFCS can be purchased for P20 and loaded a minimum of P12 up to a maximum of P10,000.

The AFCS started its test run at the LRT-2 last month and is expected to work on all three rail lines by September.

While the Beep cards will initially cover the payment for tickets on the rail systems, there are plans to expand its use to tollways, car parks, taxis, buses and even restaurants and convenience stores in the future.

Vea said the expanded use of the Beep card would make digital financial services more accessible as majority of light railway passengers currently do not have payment cards.

“This is a good development for everyone as it will usher a more cash-lite society because our commuters will soon be able to have their own cards and use them electronically,” he said.

ACIRC AUTOMATIC FARE COLLECTION SYSTEM AYALA GROUP CARD FINANCE CORP FINANCIAL GLOBE TELECOM INC INFRASTRUCTURE HOLDINGS CORP LIGHT RAIL TRANSIT MERALCO FINANCIAL SERVICES CORP METRO PACIFIC INVESTMENTS CORP SMART COMMUNICATIONS INC
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