Tap Card System May Soon Be Used to Pay Your Jeepney Fare

The highlight at the recently concluded first Philippine Auto Parts Expo held last October 12 and 13 at the Philippine Trade Training Center in Pasay City were the modern jeepney prototypes that are part of the Department of Transportation's (DOTr) Public Utility Vehicle (PUV) Modernization Program. Aside from the advances to the modern jeepneys like Euro 4 emission-standard compliant engines and electric motors, one thing we noticed were that some of the jeepneys also had  contactless payment card readers.

Card System

Similar to the reloadable Beep card system used for the Light Railway Transit (LRT) System, Metro Rail Transit (MRT) System, and the Bonifacio Global City (BGC) Bus System, this would mean cashless transactions for some jeepney routes in the future.

How receptive the jeepney drivers and operators are to the new payment method though remains to be seen. However, this discontinues the bayanihan concept of passing the payment and change from one passenger to another to pay the driver. It also eliminates one of the raised arguments in social media when the Anti-Distracted Driving Act was enforced in June 2017: that jeepney drivers are often distracted behind the wheel as they drive the vehicle and receive the payment, calculate the change and pass it to the passengers.

"This will make the driver more focused in driving instead of collecting the payment of the passengers," said DOTr Assistant Secretary Mark De Leon in an interview. "The fare collection system will help drivers with amortization, with how they pay the banks they have loans with. So instead of them paying to the banks, the collection system is automated. At the end of the day, they can pay their amortization to the banks and the banks no longer take the risk of collecting from the operators."

De Leon also shared that the DOTr is seeking to standardize the card system and make it interoperable so that jeepney operators and transport groups can tie-up with other contactless payment systems for their fare collection.