Sen. Grace Poe asked the Department of Transportation (DOTr) to come up with an effective solution to address the looming problem involving the shortage of beep cards to spare commuters from further woes.
At the Senate finance subcommittee hearing led by Poe on the DOTr budget, its officials said there are some 400,000 stored-value beep cards in circulation that will expire soon but it still has a significant supply of single-journey tickets that a passenger can buy each time they ride the MRT.
“But if you buy a single-use ticket, magbabayad ka rin naman e mano-mano pa rin. Hindi ‘yan solusyon,” Poe pointed out.
Asked by Poe, the DOTr officials said commuters cannot buy their single-journey tickets in advance, and every purchased single-journey ticket must be used within two hours.
“‘Wag nang dagdagan ng palamuti ang mga salita ninyo. Kaya ka nga bibili ng ilan para maiwasang pumila, e pipila ka pa rin to get that… What is our contingency para hindi na pipila,” Poe asked.
The DOTr said one of the solutions is to install a machine that would extend the expiry date of the stored-value tickets for a year, and passengers can just go to any station and have their cards’ expiry extended.
The DOTr added that some commuters have more than one stored-value card and that it has a program encouraging people to share their beep cards with their family or friends.
The DOTr said it is currently pilot-testing the payment of fares via QR ticketing code using cellphones.
“Can you develop that as soon as possible before the actual shortage is felt,” Poe stressed.