PUV operators urged to shift to AFCS

HIGHLIGHTING the importance of cashless, and contactless transactions in public utility vehicles to curb the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), the Department of Transportation (DOTr) is encouraging Public Utility Vehicle (PUV) operators to shift to the Automatic Fare Collection System (AFCS), as it announced that the maintenance and processing fees for the system will now be waived.

"We want to promote a “new normal” in public transportation. And shifting to cashless, and contactless transactions is part of that. Cashless payments will be beneficial to operators since it reduces pilferage, and other losses. It also automates accounting, and immediately provides ridership reports to the operator for analysis of its operations. This is a game-changer, as it enables the operator to further improve its service,” DOTr Secretary Arthur Tugade expressed.

“And I have to commend AF Payments, Inc. (AFPI) for deciding to waive its maintenance and processing fees. This would be a great help to our transport operators, drivers, and passengers," Secretary Tugade added.

Meanwhile, DOTr Assistant Secretary for Road Transport and Infrastructure Mark De Leon said this initiative of AFPI can help boost the income of PUV operators, noting that prior to the enforcement of community quarantine, AF Payments Inc. was charging between 4%-6% of their daily gross revenues, as maintenance and processing fees.

"Before, if a bus operator earns P20,000 per bus a day, it translates to a P1,200 transaction cost daily. This decision of AFPI to waive their fees will be a big boost to the PUV operators' income,” De Leon said.

“The LTFRB is now in talks with bus operators who are eyeing to consolidate their operations into a consortium, and with that development, they would need AFCS to appropriately manage their fare collections, and share the income among themselves,” De Leon added.

For their part, AFPI expressed their fullest support to the government in its bid to modernize the fare collection system of PUVs.