After some delay and glitches along the way, the much-await tap-and-ride reloadable transport card for the Metro Manila mass transit system, the beep card, was finally unveiled to the public last July 20 on a trial run basis.
The beep card is envisioned to be the sole ticketing system to be used for all of Metro Manila’s mass transit lines: Lines 1, 2, and 3 and future lines. It is also envisioned to be a system that other modes of transport like buses could use, not to mention as a mode of payment for stores. Much like how Hong Kong’s Octopus card and Singapore’s ez-link card are used besides train ticketing. The potential is there for the beep card to be a modern form of payment at least in the metropolis.
Before anyone can say it is a waste of resources, it must be noted that setting up the beep card system is part of an overall development plan for Metro Manila’s mass transportation system that was long overdue. Interesting though that such implementation is being done at a time like this that mass transport service is being heavily criticized, especially when we talk of Line 3. But back to the topic at hand, such new technology would not go unnoticed by the Urban Roamer. Thus, recently I had the privilege to try out the beep card to replace the old magnetic stored value card that I had for Line 2.
Beep cards come in two versions: the stored value card that you can use for any of the 3 existing lines and the single journey which you can only use for one trip within the line. If you will purchase a single journey beep card, you could get it at any of the newly-installed vending machines in the station. If you will purchase a stored value beep card, for now, you could purchase at the station’s customer service counter.
For stored value beep cards, you will pay a non-refundable P20 for the card and any amount from at least P20 as preliminary load. Once it is loaded, you just proceed to one of the card reading turnstile platforms and place your card on the reader to get in. If your beep card is placed in your wallet, or handbag, you don’t have to pull it out. You can instead place your wallet or handbag on to the reader and it will still be able to read the data on your card. Just make sure you only have one beep card in your wallet or handbag.
Exiting the station with the beep card is also pretty much straightforward. Just place your card or your wallet/handbag on to the reader to exit as you will also see information as to how much value your card has left. You can also proceed at the vending machine and place your stored value beep card as indicated to verify its value. If you wish to load your card with additional value, you can do so through the machine as well by inserting coins and/or paper bills in the designated slots.
Beep cards have a longer life span compared to the magnetic cards; they can be reloaded as often as possible for a period of 3-4 years. (check the back of the card for information of the length of its validity)
At this time of writing, all stations of Line 2 and the southbound side of Line 1 now have this single ticketing system of the, with a target date of September for this to be completed for all 3 lines. It is hoped that there would be no major issues on implementation that would be experienced along the way, as well as it would help pave way for a modernized mass transport system we deserve.
And that includes more better trains too.
Before I close off this entry, I thought it would be fitting to share the pre-construction work for the Line 2 East Extension that will extend the service from its current endpoint in Santolan to Masinag in Antipolo City. This was taken along Marcos Highway near the intersection of Imelda Avenue-Gil Fernando Avenue.
It is expected that the east extension will be fully operational by the 3rd quarter of 2017.