The EDSA Busway and its subsequent shift to a cashless mode of payment have been a hot topic as of late.

After the Department of Transporation (DOTr) announced that EDSA Busway users had to switch to a cashless mode of payment last week, there was a public outcry from commuters due to the cost of the Beep cards. Specifically, commuters had to spend PhP 180 amidst the difficult times to procure the card, which costs PhP 80, plus the initial load of PhP 100.

To some, the Php 80 cost per Beep card may not be much. But to commuters who have barely enough to get by during this pandemic, it is a big chunk of money already. Because of this, the DOTr temporarily suspended the mandatory use of Beep cards yesterday. Passengers may once again choose to use a Beep card to pay inside the bus or to pay with cash before boarding.

Fortunately, AF Payments, Inc., (AFPI), the provider of the contactless electronic payment system, has committed to giving 125,000 free Beep cards to EDSA busway commuters. The 125,000 free Beep cards will make it easier for passengers to pay. More importantly, it will alleviate the burden of having to shell out an additional Php 80 which may be used for their meals or other needs.

“We thank AFPI for seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, and for considering the plight of our commuters who have just started to rebuild back their lives after a series of strict quarantine measures that put pressure both on their social lives and livelihoods. For them, every centavo counts,” said the DOTr in a statement.

There was no announcement whether the EDSA Busway will return to a Beep card payment system following AFPI's commitment to giving free cards to commuters. However, we expect that 125,000 free cards are not enough given the number of users and that cash will continue to be accepted in the meantime.

Given the current situation, the free Beep cards will surely ease the burden of EDSA Busway users. If they weren't able to get one, at least they still have the option of paying in cash.