Long lines for beep cards at MRT as commuters adjust to new system
On Monday, it was the first time for most Metro Rail Transit (MRT) passengers to use beep cards since it was launched for the MRT Line 3 over the weekend but many still complained about long queues in some stations despite the promise that the tap-and-go beep system would speed up lines.
As early as 5 a.m., passengers complained of lining up for more than an hour just to buy their beep cards.
During a media briefing on Monday at the MRT 3 Ayala Station, Peter Maher, CEO and president of the AF Payments Inc., which has been tasked to implement and operate the Beep system, said that it has so far been smooth sailing for the new system since it was introduced for the MRT 3 on Saturday.
“We’ve been watching for the past two days and the machines are up and running; everything is new. New cards, new readers, new experience for the riders who will tap their cards using new equipment,” added Maher.
With beep cards now being used to access the three train lines in Metro Manila, Maher said they have finally achieved the aim “to provide a seamless transfer from one line to another.”
“Commuters can now enjoy this convenience and we hope that the beep cards’ interoperability feature will offer some improvement to the overall commmuting experience of the Filipinos,” the AF Payments Inc. CEO noted.
Quezon City resident James Philipp Guevarra, who has been using the MRT daily to Makati City, told the Philippine Daily Inquirer that the use of beep card shortened his travel time by 30 minutes.
“This can be attributed to the new machines used because they are still very fast but we don’t know how long they will work that way,” added Guevarra.
For 54-year-old Lorna Ansaldo, the public still needs assistance to familiarize themselves with the Beep system.
“I think for the first month, people should still be assisted in using beep cards,” she added.
Asked about the complaints of long lines in some stations despite the use of the beep card, Maher said it was understandable since train operators were using new machines and the public was still getting to know the system.
MRT-3 General Manager Roman Buenafe said on Monday that people have just started adjusting to the new ticketing system but noted that this has been much better than the 16-year-old system, which it replaced.
“We are still asking for the public’s patience as we are also still adjusting to this newly introduced process,” he added.
Buenafe said the people would be able to adjust to the new system in less than two months.
When the beep cards were pre-sold last week, the MRT-3 claimed that 50,000 cards were sold in MRT stations.
Maher said they would like to make the beep cards available in convenience stores and retail partners by the end of the year.
“This means you can load from these stores. We are talking to all of them because we want every Filipino to have every beep card in their pockets,” Maher added.
The beep card costs P100 with an initial load of P80. It is reloadable with P11 as the lowest denomination and P10,000 as the maximum. It was first introduced on the LRT 2 last July and on the LRT 1 last August.
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