The Light Rail Transit Line 2 (LRT-2) started testing its new “tap and go” system on Monday (July 20), selling a limited number of the new contactless smart cards at its Legarda Station.
“Under the testing phase, a limited number of new single journey and stored value tickets branded as ‘beep cards’ will initially be sold for P 20.00,” the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) said in a statement on Sunday (July 19).
The new tickets could be bought at designated windows and at two ticket vending machines inside the station.
LRT-2 made the shift from magnetic tickets to contactless smart cards in line with the DOTC’s goal to modernize the country’s transport systems. In the new automated fare collection system (AFCS), a unified ticketing scheme will be used by the train lines in Metro Manila.
Transportation Secretary Joseph Abaya explained that the new system could improve commuting experience, as it could shorten queuing time and allow the seamless transfer of passengers from one line to another.
It would also “usher in a culture of cashless transactions across different industries,” he said.
Though currently only being sold at the Legarda Station, the tickets could be reloaded and used at all LRT-2 stations, LRT spokesperson Hernando Cabrera said. “At the moment we’re only selling the card here at Legarda. This is the pilot station,” he said.
The tickets could have a minimum load of P12 and a maximum of P10,000.
Safety features were also placed in the system in case a passenger’s card gets lost or stolen. One feature is card registration, which allows passengers to block lost or stolen cards through the website of the card system. They can then transfer the load to the new card they bought.
Other safety features will be added once the implementation of the new system is completed at all stations.
Cabrera said that, if the trial at Legarda Station goes well today, testing would expand to other LRT-2 stations.
“This transition period, however, is also needed to identify any possible bugs in the system and to familiarize passengers with the new system,” the DOTC added.
Passengers can still use the old magnetic tickets during the transition.
The new ticketing system was originally set to go live last May, but it was moved as AF Payments Inc. (AFI), the project’s concessionaire, was still testing its operational readiness.