To ensure that commuters will only have to pay the fare on public utility vehicles (PUVs), the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) on Wednesday has barred the imposition of additional fees for cashless payment cards on public road transport.
The LTFRB, through Memorandum Circular (MC) 2020-057, ordered PUV operators and automatic fare collection systems (AFCS) providers to remove any charges or fees for the purchase of their cards “on top of the fare load.”
“Failure of the concerned operator and/or provider to comply with this issuance shall cause for the immediate suspension of the AFCS, aside from the penalties to be imposed,” the memorandum read.
Signed on Tuesday, the circular will be effective on Thursday after its publication.
In a message, Department of Transportation (DOTr) Assistant Secretary Goddes Hope Libiran said the MC covers all road transport PUVs such as buses and modern jeepneys but does not include rail transportation.
“Set up with rails is covered by a concession agreement,” Libiran said.
She said the policy was drafted to remove additional fees imposed on commuters after complaints of the price of beep cards of around PHP80 to PHP100 without load or stored value.
“Ginawa nga itong policy dahil sa paniningil nila ng mataas na charge at iba pang fees sa commuters eh. Kailangan, pamasahe lang ang gastos ng commuter (This policy was made due to high prices and other fees being charged to commuters. Fare should be the only cost to commuters),” Libiran said.
On the question of who will carry the cost of cashless cards and other operational costs, she said the terms are still under discussion and noted that they are eyeing AFCS the use of QR codes to remove card costs entirely.
In the meantime, she said the mandatory use of beep cards is still suspended at the Edsa Busway — commuters can either pay using a beep card or pay with cash before boarding the bus.
On Tuesday, the DOTr welcomed AF Payment Inc.’s — the operator of the beep card payment system — offer of 125,000 free beep cards but clarified that their call was for the company to waive their card fee to all its users. (PNA)