EDSA BUSWAY. Buses at one of the median bus stops of the Epifanio de los Santos Avenue (Edsa) busway. The Department of Transportation (DOTr) on Monday (Sept. 28, 2020) said buses along the Edsa busway will go cashless starting Thursday and will use the Beep card payment system. (Photo by Joey Razon)

MANILA – Public utility buses (PUB) plying the Epifanio de los Santos Avenue (Edsa) busway will go cashless starting Thursday (Oct. 1).

In a statement on Monday, the Department of Transportation (DOTr) said there will be a strict “no Beep card, no ride” policy at the exclusive bus lane beginning Thursday as it implements the beep card cashless payment system.

“The move will also pave the way for more seamless and faster transactions, as it will improve waiting time and trim down queuing of passengers,” the statement reads.

In a media bulletin, DOTr Assistant Secretary for Road Transport Steve Pastor said the cashless system will complement existing safety and health protocols already enforced by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID), such as one-meter physical distancing and the mandatory wearing of face masks and shields, among others.

“We want to ensure that commuters along Edsa will have a safer and comfortable travel, while at the same time providing them a more seamless and efficient system of public transport,” Pastor said.

Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) Chair Martin Delgra III said passengers of the Edsa busway should soon purchase a Beep card and its load or stored value to avoid inconveniences after the implementation of the cashless system.

He noted that the LTFRB is eyeing other cashless systems to implement in other public transportation systems to reduce potential Covid-19 transmission and at the same time provide convenience to patrons of public transport.

“We are envisioning that even more public transport vehicles adopt digital transactions means, either through QR codes, online payments, or tying up with cashless payment providers such as Beep,” Delgra said.

Beep cards use stored-value and are contactless cards currently used in the LRT-1, LRT-2, MRT-3, a number of Point-to-Point (P2P) buses, and modern public utility vehicles (PUV) nationwide.

To purchase stored value for the card, the DOTr said passengers can go to any LRT-1, LRT-2, or MRT-3 stations, FamilyMart branches, Ministop branches, Bayad Centers, or via over-the-air loading partners such as BPI, Eon by Unibank, Akulaku, and Justpayto. (PNA)