Oliver Bugarin 9 0 0 3 min to read

DOTr warns transport operators to prepare for a scarcity of Beep cards.

A projected scarcity of Beep cards, a stored value card (SVC) provided by AF Payments Inc. (AFPI) and utilized in the majority of trains and certain buses in Metro Manila, has been warned about by the Department of Transportation (DOTr).

The DOTr stated in a media release on Friday that the impending scarcity is brought on by issues with the worldwide chip supply chain and the anticipated rise in demand that will come with the restart of in-person classes.

The DOTr and its Beep card provider are still looking for alternatives, like the usage of single journey tickets, but measures are in place to address the shortage and meet commuter demand for contactless cards, it said.

It instructed all PTOs to “make the necessary modifications” in controlling the sale of SVCs, calm commuters’ anxieties, and “exert their best efforts” in informing their passengers about such difficulties. It also asked current Beep cardholders to take care of their SVCs.

DOTr Undersecretary for Rails Cesar Chavez explained in a letter to the Light Rail Transit (LRT)-1, LRT-2, and the Metro Rail Transit (MRT)-3 that this shortage also resulted from the restricted availability of special gases from Russia to manufacture NXP chips, the “lingering repercussions” of the coronavirus pandemic in important manufacturing hubs like China, as well as the elevated shipping and logistics costs that are causing the shortage of SVCs.

The AFPI reported in June that 8.5 million Beep cards had already been distributed, accounting for PHP32.8 billion in transactions handled by its automated fare collection system.

Beep cards are utilized in contemporary jeepneys, ferries, tollways, and some retail businesses, in addition to the three rail lines and several provincial buses.

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