MANILA - A consumer group is urging the government to postpone the full implementation of the "no Beep card, no ride" policy on EDSA Busway.
Atty. Vic Dimagiba, president of Laban Konsumer, said the government should look at making the policy optional until the end of the year, and postpone its full implementation to 2021.
"Puwede po sigurong ipatigil muna, and then i-extend 'yung umpisa uli ng implementation," he told Teleradyo.
(Maybe they can stop its implementation, then extend the start of the full implementation.)
"Optional mo muna, hanggang sa siguro next year na. 'Yan naman ang ating panawagan, tapusin mo na itong taon na ito, and then next year, umpisahan mo. Balangkasin mo nang maigi kung anong gusto mong ipatupad," Dimagiba added.
(They can make it optional then fully implement it by next year. We are asking the government to make it optional until the end of the year, and implement it by next year. They should decide on what they really want to implement.)
Dimagiba also said the price of the card is too expensive for minimum wage earners.
The new policy, which was implemented Thursday, was met with complaints and criticism from commuters who had to line up to buy the cards.
Some commuters also complained that P180 is too much for them.
Transportation Assistant Secretary Bert Suansing said the government is talking with the service provider to make find a way to make the cards cheaper for commuters.
"'Yun ang gustong mangyari ni Secretary Tugade, dapat i-libre 'yan, libre 'yung card. 'Yung usage fee, dapat wala 'yun," he said.
(Secretary Arthur Tugade wants the card to be free.)
Unfortunately, the Department of Transportation does not have enough funds to subsidize the Beep cards for the EDSA Busway, Suansing added.
AF Payments Inc., on the other hand, said they cannot really afford to make the cards free since they are not earning anything from it.
Sharon Fong, the chief commercial officer of AFPI, said they have to collect P80 for the cards because of the manufacturing cost.
Suansing said DOTr and other agencies involved in the project are coming up with a way to make the cards cheaper, or even free, for commuters.
"Hopefully before the end of the day bukas, may mahanap na tayong solusyon," he said.
(Hopefully before the day ends tomorrow, we can find a solution.)
DOTr implemented the cashless policy as a way to prevent the further spread of the novel coronavirus.
Commuters, however, were obligated to purchase the cards costing P180 each, with an initial P100 load, to ride buses.
The cost forced some commuters to find alternative means of getting to their destinations as several Filipinos have yet to recover from the financial blow caused by the pandemic.