THE Department of Transportation (DoTr) said the rollout of the automated fare collection system (AFCS) will feature an expanded choice for commuters to encourage competition among potential vendors of fare media.

“In the long run sana mabigyan po natin ng pagkakataon na tayong mga mananakay ang mamimili kung ano ang gusto nating gamitin na [fare media] (we want to give our commuters the chance to choose the fare media they want to use),” Randolph Ian V. Clet, the DoTr’s AFCS Program Office project manager, said in a webinar on Tuesday.

Ang gusto po natin marami tayong issuers na pagpipilian at mag-create ng competition (We want to have more fare media issuers to choose from and create competition),” he added.

Mr. Clet said the AFCS is safe and secure, future-proof, provides revenue protection for operators, environment-friendly, and helps improve governance.

Mr. Clet said added that AFCS use can help operators collate mass transport passenger data.

The current fare media market entrants include Beep Card, Green Frog, BayadCard, BeepRides, TripKo, Star8, Squidpay, ePLUS, and Filipay.

“The lack of government regulations and clear policies for AFCS has made the environment conducive for non-interoperability,” Mr. Clet said.

On average, Mr. Clet said users in the Philippines spend 33% more in purchasing or reloading multiple transit cards.

Mr. Clet said that the Philippines should aim for an open AFCS ecosystem with low entry barriers and universal usability across all forms of transport.

The DoTr plans to implement AFC National Standards (NS) to reduce market fragmentation.

“With the implementation of the NS, DoTr will be able to consolidate the fragmented set up of AFCS brought about by closed loop systems,” Mr. Clet said. — Justine Irish D. Tabile