New QR code ticketing system offered for EDSA buses

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    A DAY after the Department of Transportation (DOTr) suspended the use of Beep cards on EDSA buses, the operator of the card said it was upgrading its system and setting up a QR code ticketing program for cashless payments, which it said would not cost Metro Manila commuters anything.

    AF Payments Inc. (AFPI), the operator of the Beep card, likewise said it would issue 125,000 free cards which “people in need” can use while its technical experts complete the systems upgrade of the Beep card system.

    The DOTr on Sunday suspended the mandatory use of Beep cards for the EDSA Busway project following a public outcry over its cost and after AFPI ignored calls for it to shoulder the cost of the card.

    AFPI said once the upgrade is completed, passengers who ride the EDSA Busway can use a QR ticket printed on plain paper or downloaded on their mobile phones.

    “QR paper tickets will not cost anything in addition to the regular fare for the desired trip,” AFPI said, adding that the paper or mobile phone QR tickets can be used in all buses with upgraded Beep systems.

    The Beep cards are sold at P80 each, which AFPI says covers only part of the cost of logistics, production, initialization, printing and distribution.

    In 2015, under a Public-Private partnership program, AFPI replaced the old magnetic card-based ticketing system in the three light railway lines in Metro Manila with a more modern contactless based smart card technology, also known as the Beep Card.

    At no cost to the Philippine government or the train operators, AFPI provided ticket vending machines, automated gates and Central Computer Systems as part of modernizing the AFCS system in the light rail network. AFPI also does not charge for the operation and maintenance of the system.

    Up to March 2020, AFPI has issued over seven million cards and processed at least one million transactions per day.