'Remove fees' on card purchases except for fare load: LTFRB orders PUV, payment operators

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 07 2020 03:06 PM | Updated as of Oct 07 2020 03:58 PM

Commuters line up to top up or buy new Beep Cards in Caloocan City as the EDSA Bus Carousel on October 1, 2020. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News/File

MANILA - The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) on Wednesday issued a circular mandating PUV operators and automated fare collection system providers to "remove" charges on cashless cards except for fare load effective Oct. 9.

The Department of Transportation earlier implemented the shift to cashless transactions for the EDSA busway to reduce human interaction and lessen the risk of contracting COVID-19.

The supposed exclusive cashless system was later suspended, and cash was again allowed to be used to pay for fares, after commuters complained of high Beep card prices on top of the load.

"To alleviate the burden of the riding public, the Board hereby directs all Public Utility Vehicle (PUV) operators and Automatic Fare Collection System (AFCS) to remove any charges or fees imposed for the purchase/use of their cards on top of the fare load," LTFRB said in circular dated Oct.6.

Failure to comply could result in "immediate suspension" of the automatic fare collection and penalties, the agency said.

President Rodrigo Duterte said Tuesday Beep cards should be given to passengers for free.

Beep card operator AF Payments Inc earlier said the cards at P80 each were selling "at zero-profit" and was also "partially subsidized."

-- with a report from Jacque Manabat, ABS-CBN News