The Department of Transportation (DOTr) and the Land Bank of the Philippines (Land Bank) on Monday signed partnership on six different public transport-related projects.
These projects are the pilot production testing for Automatic Fare Collection Systems (AFCS) on public transport, the North-South Commuter Railway Extension (NSCR-Ex) Appraisal Project, Resettlement Action Plan (RAP) Entitlements Distribution Mechanism, Distribution of Cash Subsidy to operators of Public Utility Vehicles (PUV), Support Package for Environment-friendly and Efficiently-Driven PUV (SPEED PUV) Program, and the Interim Rehabilitation Support to Cushion Unfavorably-affected Enterprises by Covid-19 for Better Urban Services (I-RESCUE BUS) Transport Lending Program.
DOTr Secretary Arthur Tugade said the signing of partnership shows the “tremendous support” coming from Landbank and other partner stakeholders in carrying out several transport initiatives.
“These six programs represent the numerous efforts we have been pushing to improve and enhance the whole public transport system in the country. These six programs also show the multiple ways we innovate things for the comfort and convenience of the riding of the public,” Tugade said.
AFCS pilot program
One of the programs signed, called the “AFCS EMV Co-Compliant Contactless Pilot Production Testing,” aims to implement a “national standard-based” interoperable AFCS that can be used in all modes of public transport nationwide.
In partnership with Landbank and Mastercard, the project aims to allow the use of EMV-enabled credit, debit, and prepaid cards on public transport.
DOTr Assistant Secretary Steve Pastor said the project will run for at least six to nine months, starting first quarter of 2021.
“We will only be focusing on EMV co-compliant contactless card payment instruments, the objective of which is to further prepare the fourth of the national standards,” Pastor said.
Cash subsidy for PUV operators
Due to the reduced passenger capacity and no fare increase for all modes of public transport, the DOTr, through the Land Transportation Franchising Regulatory Board (LTFRB) will soon provide a one-time cash grant of PHP6,500 to the operators of at least 178,244 qualified PUV units nationwide, funded through the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act (Bayanihan 2).
These will include public utility jeepneys (PUJ), UV Express, Filcab, public utility buses (PUB), Premium Point-to-Point (P2P) buses, and minibus.
The previous ‘Pantawid Pasada’ fuel cash card used in previous cash subsidies will again be used as the main payout mechanism for the program. For those without or have lost their cash cards, the subsidy can be claimed through over-the-counter transactions in their local Landbank branch or through crediting of cash subsidies to other bank accounts through InstaPay and PesoNet.
The SPEED PUV program, meanwhile, will allow public transport cooperatives and corporations with approved routes by the LTFRB and with approved modern PUVs to get a loan P11 worth 95 percent of the unit, a seven years loan tenor, a 6 percent interest rate, and six months grace period on principal payment.
Similar to the SPEED PUV program, the iRESCUE BUS Transport Lending program will allow members of bus consortiums in certain parts of the NCR to borrow up to 80 percent of the acquisition cost of a bus unit, 5 percent interest rate until the third year, a seven years loan tenor, and a maximum two years grace period on the principal payment.
Another partnership signed will see Landbank provide technical assistance to the DOTr through the appraisal of properties in right-of-way acquisitions, with the aim of having appraisals that are “more beneficial and advantageous to the national government.” (PNA)