AF Payments Inc. (AFPI) is committed to provide a modern automated fare collection system (AFCS), not just in LRT and MRT, but also for city buses and P2P. We continue to work with the bus transport operators to further improve the implementation of the cashless system.
Allow us to share the following information, leading to the current implementation of AFCS in EDSA buses.
- In 2015, under a Public-Private partnership program, AFPI replaced the old magnetic-card-based ticketing system in the three light railway lines in Metro Manila with a more modern contactless-based smart card technology, also known as the Beep Card.
- At no cost to the Philippine Government or the train operators, AFPI provided ticket vending machines, automated gates and Central Computer Systems as part of modernizing the AFCS system in the light rail network. AFPI also does not charge for the operation and maintenance of the system.
- Up to March 2020, AFPI has issued over 7M cards and processed at least 1 million transactions per day.
- To help facilitate faster and more convenient transactions, the growing beep™ ecosystem is supported by an increasing number of loading options such as over-the-air loading and beep™ kiosks which are deployed at PITX and P2P terminals.
- Over the last five years, AFPI extended its system to Buses and Jeepneys and was one of the first companies to offer its automated fare collection services to Point-to-Point (P2P) bus and jeepney operators.
- Last June 2020, in response to the Department of Transportation (DOTr) Guidelines for the Road Transport Sector requiring an automated fare collection system for cashless payment transactions, two bus operator consortiums asked AFPI to propose an AFCS that can be used for the Edsa Loop route. AFPI decided to participate, because we believe that the operation of a cashless ticketing system, limits the risk of COVID-19 transmission and, more importantly, supports the resumption of mass transport operations that is crucial to restart the economy.
- After considering several AFCS service providers, the Bus Consortiums chose AFPI because of its business experience and expertise and most importantly the low cost to implement the program. To support the Bus Consortiums that have experienced financial difficulty due to the ceasing of their operations because of the pandemic, and at no cost to the operators, AFPI decided to setup and operate the load and card sales terminals in all bus stops along EDSA.
- The cards are sold at PHP80 each, which covers only part of the cost of logistics, production, initialization, printing and distribution.
- For the next 12 months, even if card sales continue at PHP80, AFPI will not make any profit and will actually subsidize the operation of the AFCS. In this challenging economic situation, we will continue supporting bus and jeepney operators to restore mass transport that is needed by our citizens and the economy.
- Through the beep™ Rewards program in our mobile app, we have also enabled cardholders to earn points when using their beep™ to pay. For every 1000 points, passengers can redeem PHP 10 load. In just over a month, we reached 15k card registrations and passengers have already earned 1M points. We encourage passengers to download the beep™ mobile phone application and to register their cards to take advantage of the rewards program.
- In response to concerns that some passenger may not be able to buy a beep card, we have offered to the Operators a system upgrade that will allow passengers who use the EDSA Bus Loop to use a QR ticket (paper or mobile phone) instead of a beep card. QR paper tickets will not cost anything in addition to the regular fare for the desired trip.
- After we have upgraded the equipment in all buses plying the EDSA loop, passengers will be able to use a beep card or a QR code ticket on all buses.
- In the meantime, to ease the burden of passengers who have challenges buying a beep card, we will issue free beep cards to people in need. This offer has been made possible by our Shareholders and Business Groups, who graciously donated the needed funds to pay for up to 125,000 free cards.
- As soon as the QR code ticket system is in place we will no longer be issuing free beep cards as it is no longer necessary. At this time passengers who do not want a beep card can instead avail of a QR ticket, which no additional cost attached and will only require the payment of exact fare between the desired stops.
- The new upgraded bus validation will also be able to accept mobile phone based QR tickets that can be generated from bank applications or e-Wallets. We invite all interested parties to sign up and participate as QR ticket issuer. We open-sourced the necessary technical specifications and made it available on the Internet free of charge for every interested party to develop the technology to issue a ticket.