Lawmaker mulls use of QR codes instead of free beep cards

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House Transportation Committee Chair and Samar Congressman Edgar Mary Sarmiento urged the Department of Transportation (DoTr)  to adopt the use of  Quick Response codes (QR Code) in lieu of beep cards to avoid long lines for bus carousel and train commuters.

Sarmiento said the use of QR codes can even be standardized as a mode of payment for all forms of public transportation if beep cards are unavailable.

Sarmiento said that he is happy that Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade heeded calls to suspend the use of beep cards but the best alternative  is to upgrade the system and allow the use of QR Codes and mobile apps that can be reloaded online or through reloading kiosks.

“The DoTr can create their own fare reloading app  using various forms of electronic wallets and  various electronic banking platforms or they can tap the private sector to do this for them,” Sarmiento said.

This would stop people from spending too much time in queuing to get their cards and reduce human-to-human interaction which could expose them to the corona virus.

This is also more cost-effective and environment-friendly because there is no longer a need to mass produce these plastic cards.

Sarmiento noted that if the use of QR codes are used as an alternative to the beep cards, the government would no longer need to subsidize the production cost of these cards.

“Giving away these free beep cards is simply unsustainable because who would spend to mass manufacture these beep cards. Sooner or later, our commuters would have to pay for these beep cards because the production is not free,” Sarmiento said.

Sarmiento said data scanners and readers can already read not just the data stored on machine-readable cards but also data stored on QR codes.

The House transportation panel chair said that the use of QR codes and going cashless in using public transport should be the policy direction of the government even after the corona virus has been fully contained because this would definitely make them more efficient and manageable.

“Going cashless in our public transportation is the way to go. QR Codes and Beep cards is the future of Philippine public transportation,” Sarmiento said.