Bus operators raise concern on Beep card, seek cash transactions and more routes

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 04 2020 08:30 AM | Updated as of Oct 04 2020 08:50 AM

Commuters line up to top up or buy new Beep Cards in Caloocan City as the EDSA Bus Carousel implements a 'No Beep Card, No Ride' policy starting Oct. 1, 2020. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA — Commuters from provinces near Metro Manila might find Beep card buses hard to use since only a few of them have used the stored value cards prior to the pandemic, an organization of bus operators said Saturday.

The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board reopened 12 modified provincial bus routes between Metro Manila and Central Luzon on Sep. 30, months after public transportation was stopped in the capital and nearby provinces to curb the spread of the new coronavirus.

The 'No Beep Card, No Ride' policy on EDSA Busway in Metro Manila was implemented Oct. 1 as part of measures to stem the spread of COVID-19.

“Yung mga mananakay dito sa Maynila, sila nga, marami sa kanila ang walang Beep card. Lalo na sa probinsya. Siguro kakaunti lang doon ang mayroong Beep card. Hindi naman sila sumasakay sa train system dito eh,” Alex Yague, executive director of Provincial Bus Operators Association of the Philippines, told TeleRadyo’s “Omaga-Diaz Report.”

(Even many commuters here in Manila don't have Beep card, what more those in the provinces? Probably only a few, because they don't ride the train systems here.)

“Hindi naman sila regular na sumasakay sa train systèm. Ibig sabihin niyan, kukuha sila ng Beep card,” he added. 

(They don't regularly ride train systems. So, they will have to buy a Beep card.)

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To prevent commuters from being more confused in the new bus transportation system, the group urged the government to let them use their own terminals, and to use cash transactions.

Yague said the group would follow all the standard protocol enforced by the Inter-Agency Task Force and the Department of Health to curb the spread of the coronavirus. 

“Kung puwede naming magamit ang sarili nating terminal habang inaayos natin ang cashless transactions... Magamit lang natin para ang ating mga manggagawa makapasok na sa kanilang trabaho," he said. 

(Maybe they can let us use our own terminals as we prepare our cashless transactions...so our workers can return to their jobs.)

The group also called for government to subsidize the costs of bus operators on fuel and additional routes as they continued to struggle financially due to passenger restrictions and limited routes, Yaue added.

“Iyong 12 na ruta na binuksan nila sa commuters, provincial routes na terminal to terminal ang sistema, dumadaan sa loob ng tollway ng SLEX, CAVITEX. Bukod doon sa 50 porsyento na kaya namin ikarga, mataas ang expense, pero limited ang revenues,” he said.

(The 12 provincial routes they opened use terminal-to-terminal system and go through SLEX and CAVITEX. Aside from the 50 percent passenger capacity, expenses are high, but revenues are limited.)

“Kaya maraming operator ang sumubok bumiyahe para makita ang [magiging] takbo [sa pagbubukas ng mga ruta]. Lahat ng mga bumiyahe noong isang araw, lahat sila lugi.”

(Many operators tried to see how the routes go. Those who did suffered losses.)