The Light Rail Transit Authority (LRTA) and AF Payments Inc. are doing a limited trial run of the Unified Automated Fare Collection System (AFCS) for the mass rail complex on July 20.
“We’re done with the technical aspect, now we are testing the operational aspect of the beep card,” LRTA Spokesperson Hernando Cabrera told The Manila Times.
The dry run will cover the vending machines and how passengers will take to using the new ticketing system, Cabrera noted.
“During the trial, we’ll be deploying people to assists the passengers on how to use the vending machines, how to use the cards . . . So, yun ang mga i-te-test natin [So, these are what we will be testing],” Cabrera added.
“From entering the station… what are the next steps, like how to buy the card, how to use the card, how to enter, how to exit . . . If those are operational, we need to know that . . . We need to check, we need to validate, we need the participation of the passengers,” the LRTA official said.
The pilot tests will be at the LRT-2 Legarda Station on Monday, July 20. Commuters can buy the beep Stored Value Card (SVC), as well as the new contactless Single Journey Tickets (SJT).
The tap-and-go SVCs and SJTs can only be purchased at the Legarda station during the trial period, but the cards will be accepted at all exit gates of LRT-2. The beep cards may be loaded in any station teller booth.
“Our team has conducted rigorous technical testing to assess all operational aspects of the new system,” said AF Payments President and Chief Executive Officer Peter Maher.
“We now e nter a crucial phase which is to generate more volume to test the equipment and to assess the public’s ability to use the new system,” he said.
“We want to observe the user experience and see whether any improvements are necessary. We hope that as we roll-out the limited public trial, we are able to address any concerns that may come up to ensure a smooth transition to the new payment system,” Maher added.
Smart card technology
The LRT 2 is the first commuter railroad to implement the smart card technology. The beep card sells for P20, and may be loaded with a minimum of P12 to a maximum of P10,000 in LRT2 stations.
The AFCS will run simultaneously with the old system, which uses magnetic stripe tickets, until the roll-out is completed, according to AF Payments.
Updates on the roll-out schedules and other information can be gleaned from Beep on Facebook (beepcardph) and Twitter (@beep_card).
AF Payments Inc. is a joint venture between Ayala Corp. and Metro Pacific Investments Corp., specifically for public-private partnership project to unify the AFCS of three LRT1, LRT2, and MRT3.
Senior citizens and persons with disability get automatic discounts on the beep cards.
“Maraming feature ‘yung new system natin [Our new system has a lot of features],” Cabrera said.