HOUSE Assistant Majority Leader and Quezon City Rep. Precious Castelo has asked the Department of Transportation to return to thousands of commuters the amount they have paid to purchase Beep cards.
“Now that the Department of Transportation (DOTr) has suspended the use of the card and ordered the acceptance of cash payment for fares, commuters should be refunded the P80 they paid for the card,” said Castelo.
Castelo said if the service provider is hesitant or unwilling to return the money, the DOTr should compel it.
“Assuming they have sold one million Beep cards, that’s P80 million belonging to salaried workers and poor people,” said Castelo.
She noted news reports that there are about seven million such cards in circulation.
“They should have provided those cards for free in the first place. If expressway operators in north and south Luzon could give those cards free of charge to motorists, the same service should be offered without cost to commuters in Metro Manila,” Castelo said.
Castelo said in principle, she supports the use of a cashless and contactless fare or toll payment system “with or without a pandemic.”
“The goal in times like this is obvious: the scheme lessens the risk of transmission of the infectious virus and the disease it is causing. In normal times, it speeds up mobility,” she said.
Castelo suggested that the DOTr still pursue its contactless fare payment system in the future but without cost to commuters.
On Sunday, just hours before the DOTr suspended the use of the Beep cards, Castelo called for providing these to commuters for free.