Pangilinan: Waive extra Beep card charges, implement P5.58B service contracts for PUVs in Bayanihan 2

October 2, 2020
NO BEEP CARD, NO RIDE POLICY / OCTOBER 1, 2020 Passengers use beep cards to pay on EDSA Carousel buses in Paranaque Integrated Terminal Exchange in Paranaque City. Starting October 1, 2020, the terminal will strictlyåÊimplement the 'No Beep card, No Ride Policy' to minimize physical contacts as part of precautionary measures against the spread of COVID19. INQUIRER PHOTO / RICHARD A. REYES

SENATOR Francis Pangilinan called out the “thoughtless” implementation of the “no Beep card, no ride policy” in Metro Manila’s mass transport system that forced commuters to shell out extra cash to purchase the P80 card and maintain the required P70 balance in the card.

“At syempre, iba pa ang load sa P80 na pagbili ng Beep card. Iyong iba sa ating manggagawa arawan ang sweldo at walang ekstrang pera. Ipinangungutang pa ang pamasahe dahil talagang walang-wala, tapos pipilitin pa silang bumili ng Beep card at mag-iwan ng maintaining balance para magamit ang card. Ano ba naman yan?” Pangilinan said.

“Beep card nga pero di man lang bumusina. Ang tagal na ng lockdown. Ang tagal nang hirap ang mga taong walang masakyan. Ang tagal nang walang pasada ang mga jeepney drivers. Pwedeng two birds with one stone ang solusyon at nakasaad na sa Bayanihan 2 at may nakalaan nang budget dito,” he added.

One of Pangilinan’s amendments in Bayanihan 2 (Republic Act 11494) was to provide livelihood to displaced workers in the transport sector through service contracting with an allocation of P5.58 billion.

The service contracting scheme is a system in which government pays public utility vehicles (PUVs) a fixed fee per day or per kilometer. In return, government receives fare revenues collected from commuters.

“It’s a win-win solution: PUV operators receive stable income, while commuters receive stable service. Gawin na agad ito,” he said.

On the Beep card fiasco itself, Pangilinan called on the Department of Transportation to order the free distribution of the cards and to remove the requirement to maintain at least P70 to use the card.

“Kaisa ako sa panawagan ng mga manggagawa at pasahero na i-waive na ang purchase, maintenance at convenience fees. Libre dapat yung card. Dapat yung pamasahe o load lang ang bayaran,” he said.

The first day of the implementation of the policy was met with a barrage of complaints from commuters who were surprised that they have to pay extra for the card, which costs P80.

Aside from the one-time card purchase, the new system requires that passengers should always have a maintaining balance of P70 for bus rides.

Some workers have been forced to walk because they do not have extra cash on hand.

Pangilinan said the wrong-headed Beep card policy piles on the hardships of ordinary Filipinos suffering due to the pandemic and the government’s lack of a comprehensive plan to address it, including commuters who cannot go to work due to lack of transportation.

“Magpipitong buwan na, wala pa ring malinaw na plano para sugpuin ang COVID. Nasaan ang mga polisiyang tutulong sa mga naapektuhang manggagawa at pasahero? Our economy will not be able to move forward away from the ill effects of the pandemic without them,” Pangilinan said.

“We need our workers, including our PUV drivers, to get going so we could rise from this crisis.  Government must do its share by fixing the transportation system and unburden the people with irrational policies,” he added.