The Department of Transportation (DOTr) and state-run Land Bank of the Philippines have partnered to jointly develop a cashless payment system for public transportation.
The DOTr and Landbank inked a memorandum of agreement to conduct the pilot production testing of the Automatic Fare Collection System (AFCS).
The pilot production testing of AFCS will use Mastercard EMVCo-compliant contactless cards as payment instruments in public transport modes, the DOTr said.
The testing will evaluate the AFCS under a real-time operating condition in preparation for its full and commercial implementation, it said.
The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board earlier prohibited public utility vehicle (PUV) operators and their chosen AFCS provider from imposing any fees or charges in the use of cards for commuters.
President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday ordered the Department of Transportation (DOTr) and LTFRB to make Beep cards used in the EDSA Busway system free of charge.
This was after many commuters were caught off guard by the “no Beep card, no ride” policy implemented at the EDSA Busway.
The DOTr suspended the mandatory use of Beep cards at the EDSA Busway after AF Payments Inc., operator of the automatic fare collection system, refused to make the cards free.
AFPI clarified that it does not earn from the sales of Beep cards and it is sold at cost.
Later, the company announced it will issue 125,000 Beep cards for free “to ease the burden of passengers who have challenges buying a Beep card.”
But the DOTr is still studying AFPI’s proposal as the agency considers other interested AFCS providers that will be distributing cards for free.
The DOTr and Landbank also inked other partnership programs for the delivery of technical assistance, financing, and support for the modernization of the country’s public transportation system.
The DOTr-Landbank partnership covers the following projects:
- Appraisal project for properties affected by DOTr projects
- Resettlement action plan entitlements distribution mechanism
- Distribution of cash subsidy to operators of Public Utility Vehicles (PUVs)
- Support package for environment-friendly and efficiently-driven PUV (SPEED PUV) program
- Interim rehabilitation support to cushion unfavorably-affected enterprises by COVID-19 for Better Urban Services (I-RESCUE BUS) transport lending program
The collaboration between the DOTr and Landbank was formalized through a virtual memorandum of agreement (MOA) signing ceremony on October 12 led by Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade and Landbank president and CEO Cecilia Borromeo.
“These six programs represent the numerous efforts we have been pushing to improve and enhance the whole public transport system in the country. These six programs also show the multiple ways we innovate things for the comfort and convenience of the riding of the public,” Tugade said.
“And these six programs we signed prove the tremendous support coming from our partner stakeholders, as we carry out various transport initiatives for the Filipino people,” he said.
For her part, Borromeo said the DOTr-Landbank partnership is “also in stride with the national government’s effort to address the challenges of COVID-19 pandemic and revitalize the local economy, centered on sustaining the momentum of the ‘Build Build Build’ Program.”
“Prioritizing infrastructure projects during this time will help create much needed jobs, attract investments and increase economic activities,” she said.
One of the agreements involves tapping the technical expertise of the Landbank to appraise properties affected by DOTr Projects.
Through the signing of this agreement, the lender agreed to extend the necessary technical assistance to DOTr in the conduct of inspection and appraisal of the said affected properties
The DOTr, Philippine National Railways (PNR), and Landbank also entered into an agreement to establish a resettlement action plan entitlements distribution mechanism, which will allow the Transportation department to expedite distribution of social entitlements to its project affected recipients.
“It enables the agencies to execute the project en masse, at the same time make processes much more efficient. This MOA will remove the heartache of our fellow countrymen who are affected by large infrastructure projects. Further, it allows the projects to be delivered on time,” the DOTr said.
To cushion the impact of COVID-19 pandemic on PUV stakeholders, RA 11494 or the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act, directs the DOTr, through the LTRFB, to provide direct cash subsidies through a one-time cash grant amounting to P6,500.
At least 178,244 qualified PUV units nationwide are expected to benefit from the cash subsidies, with modes including Public Utility Jeepney (PUJ), UV Express, Filcab, Bus, Premium Point-to-Point (P2P) Bus, and Minibus, the DOTr said.
Landbank will facilitate the cash release through the Pantawid Pasada Program (PPP) fuel cash cards, existing Landbank accounts, other bank accounts via InstaPay or PESONet, and over-the-counter payouts.
An agreement was also signed to ensure that the plans, procedures, and rules of Landbank’s transport lending programs—the SPEED PUV Lending Program and IRESCUE BUS Transport Lending Program—are aligned with the DOTr’s Public Utility Vehicle Modernization Program (PUVMP).
The SPEED PUV Program offers financing to public transport cooperatives or corporations to help them make the shift to better and safer vehicles.
As of August 31, 2020, Landbank has approved a total of P737.21 million in loans to 16 borrowers nationwide for the purchase of 407 modern jeepneys.
The state lender has allotted an initial P3 billion for the recently launched IRESCUE BUS Transport Lending Program to support the members of the consortium selected for the Metro Manila Bus Modernization Program in the purchase of modern public utility buses.
Qualified enterprises may borrow up to 80% of the acquisition cost of the vehicle, at an affordable fixed interest rate of 5% per annum for the first three years—payable up to a maximum of seven years, inclusive of the two-year grace period on principal.—AOL, GMA News
This article DOTr, Landbank to develop Mastercard EMVCo-compliant cashless payment system for public transport was originally published in GMA News Online.