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'No major issues' with implementation of beep card in MRT 3-DOTC.

There were no major issues reported amid the implementation of the new ticketing system known as beep card at the Metro Rail Transit (MRT 3), the Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC) said on Monday.

There have been no major issues reported so far, although we are closely monitoring progress made by the private concessionaire before we formally accept the entire system, said DOTC spokesman Michael Sagcal in a text message to INQUIRER.net.

Along with all our other rehabilitation and improvement projects for our railway lines, we look forward to making our riders' daily trips more convenient and reliable in the coming months, Sagcal added.

MRT 3 started using the beep card in all its stations since October 3. The Light Rail Transit 2 (LRT) started implementing the new ticketing system on July 20, while the LRT 1 started using beep cards on August 16.

This means that train riders can now use a unified ticket in all the stations of the three elevated railways without buying a separate card.

Smooth ride, more convenient

Vina Arriesgado, who said it was her first time to buy a beep card, said everything went smoothly since the train's personnel assisted her in buying and using the beep card.

It's my first time to try the card. So far, no technical glitch. People just aren't used to it. So there's a bit of confusion, Arriesgado said, citing the attendants were a big help.

There's an overwhelming number of people using the trains, so I hope the information on how to use it gets taught quickly, she said.

Another commuter, Karla Piangco, said using the beep card was more convenient than using the old magnetic card because commuters could just reload the card.

It takes you lesser time to enter and exit, Piangco said.

But Piangco said some of the machines broke down and were not operative.

Technical glitches

Reneboy Garcia said he has used his beep card twenty times and experienced a minor technical glitch.

In my twenty trips, I experienced one glitch when the sensor did not recognized my card, so that's a 5% failure rate for me, Garcia said.

According to Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) secretary general Renato Reyes, commuter woes continue despite the implementation of the beep card.

Reyes said the beep card was not free from operational glitches, citing machines were breaking down or overheating.

He said the issue on the beep cards' availability was also raised by some commuters.

He said there were still insufficient trains available to accommodate the thousands of daily commuters of the MRT 3.

Where are the promised new trains for the MRT? Only a prototype has arrived sans any engine and without the benefit of a 5,000 km test run as required by the supply contract. It is not even sure how the new trains will be compatible with the current MRT system, he said.

The DOTC seems more interested in negotiating questionable contracts rather than actually addressing commuter needs. Inuna ang beep card kesa sa tren (They prioritized the beep cards before the trains), he added.

He said the DOTC, under Liberal Party leadership, is merely facilitating the business interests of the beep card operators Ayala and Metro Pacific.

The AF Payments Inc., an Ayala Corp. and Metro Pacific Investments Corp.-led consortium, won the contract to set up a P1.72-billion automatic fare collection system for the LRT Lines 1 and 2 and the MRT 3.

Reyes questioned the why commuters need to pay P20 as an issuance fee.

We'd also like to ask the beep card concessionaires why commuters are made to pay P20 as issuance fee. When you pay P100 for a stored value card, the actual load is only P80, he said.

In other systems such as Hong Kong, commuters merely pay a deposit which they can either refund when they return the card or use up for one last ride, he added.

The said that the issuance fee for the beep cards is expected to go up to P30 after 2019.
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Publication:Philippines Daily Inquirer (Makati City, Philippines)
Date:Oct 5, 2015
Words:675
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