MANILA— It's the welfare of commuters above all.
The Department of Transportation had this to say on the P80 price tag on stored value Beep cards for the EDSA Busway, asserting that the cards should be provided for free.
This was in response to the statement of AF Payments Inc. (AFPI), operator of the tap-and-go cards, that the cards were already being sold "at zero profit" and was "partially subsidized."
AFPI is a consortium of the Ayala Group and First Pacific Group.
"Hindi pinag-uusapan dito kung magkano ang kikitain ng service provider. Ang pinag-uusapan dito ay 'yung sakit at hapdi sa bulsa ng mga commuter," Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade said in a statement posted on the DOTr Facebook page.
(We're not talking about how much money the service provider will make. We're talking about the pain on the pockets of commuters.)
For the transport chief, there should be consideration for commuters as they include those who lost livelihood because of the COVID-19 pandemic. He said P80 already means much for workers.
"Kapakanan ng commuter ang dapat maging manaig at maging prayoridad, hindi ang anupamang interes," the DOTr said.
(It's the welfare of commuters that should prevail and become priority, not any other interest.)
The DOTr had said Friday it wants the EDSA Busway Beep cards given for free to commuters to provide them relief amid a difficult time.
AFPI's chief commercial officer, Sharon Fong, had said in an earlier interview that the card fee covers production cost and goes directly to the manufacturer.
The government earlier implemented the cashless payment system for the EDSA Busway to curb the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.