Duterte wants Beep cards given to commuters for free
(Philstar.com) - October 6, 2020 - 12:17am

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte said Monday he is looking at the possibility of giving Beep cards to commuters for free in a bid to ease their commuting woes and still push for cashless payments on public transportation amid the coronavirus pandemic.

"They were not prepared for this card. Kaya 'yang card na 'yan, card lang naman 'yan ibigay na yan ng libre. Bakit pabayaran pa yan? We have been wasting so may billions to corruption tapos hindi 'yan maibigay," Duterte said in a public address aired late night.

"That's why I would like to talk to (Transportation) Secretary (Arthur) Tugade next meeting because I would raise the possibility of giving it free," he added.

The transportation department on Sunday advised the public that it is suspending the mandatory use of Beep cards at the EDSA Busway until issues are resolved.

The short-lived policy, implemented on October 1, was derailed by issues on cost. Many commuters who did not have the cards yet were surprised to find that they had to pay P80 for the cards on top of the fare for their trip. It was also found that the cards for the bus system are different from those used on the Metro Rail Transit and the Light Rail Transit.

Service provider AF Payments Inc. last week said that the cards were given for free before October 1 and that the P80 fee is at zero profit and is already partially subsidized.

"If there is no relief in sight or it cannot be done immediately, I suggest we find the money and give it to the public for free para walang gulo," Duterte said.

Tugade said he is confident that that cashless system on public transportation will be in place by the end of the year.

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