THE government has partnered with Globe Telecom, Inc.’s mobile wallet arm GCash to carry out cashless transactions in taxis and transportation network vehicle services (TNVS), the Department of Transportation (DoTr) said.

The Transportation department made the announcement on Friday as taxi operators and transport network companies are now allowed to resume operations in areas placed under the more relaxed general community quarantine (GCQ).

The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) has been pushing for the use of digital payments to limit or prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

“The agency has been in talks with various cashless payment providers. One of the first to tie-up with the government for this purpose is GCash,” the DoTr said.

Under the partnership, “GCash will enable taxi drivers to accept digital payments through the revolutionary Scan to Pay (STP) app via the QR technology of GCash. Using this app, GCash users only need to scan the unique QR code of the taxi unit they are riding in paying for their metered fares,” the department added.

GCash also offers GCash PowerPay+, a fund disbursement platform that allows taxi operators to send salaries, allowances, and commissions to their drivers.

“Cashless and contactless payment scheme will now be part of the ‘new normal’ in the public transportation system. This should not be treated by taxi operators as another transaction cost. Rather, this move intends to limit direct physical contact between drivers and their passengers and help stop the spread of COVID-19. I am very grateful to GCash for making this new arrangement happen,” Transportation Secretary Arthur P. Tugade was quoted as saying.

For his part, GCash Head of Payments Jovit Bajar said: “GCash strongly supports the government’s call for the use of mobile payments to lessen the risk of spreading COVID-19 through surfaces such as paper money. We laud the strong and wise decision of [the DoTr and the LTFRB] in implementing the cashless payments program, as we move forward to the new normal.”

The DoTr said the LTFRB is in talks with other electronic payment providers such as Squidpay, Paymaya, and Beep, among others. — Arjay L. Balinbin