Beep card shortage looms

Due to global chip supply chain problems, a beep cards shortage looms just as the country’s rail transit system is fully normalizing, the Department of Transportation (DOTr) warned Friday, August 19.

More passengers are expected to avail of Beep Cards and stored value cards (SVCs) as the bulk of students return to face-to-face classes Monday, August 22.

Beep card provider AF Payments Inc. (AFPI) “cannot fulfill the delivery of 75,000 SVCs vis-a-vis the card forecast demand of MRT3 for the month of July 2022 despite its repeated and diligent coordination with card suppliers abroad,” Undersecretary for Rails Cesar B. Chavez admitted in a statement issued yesterday.

Already, the DOTr has advised the Public Transport Operators (PTOs) of rail lines to brace for an expected shortage of available beep cards due to shortage of worldwide production of chips, affecting the production, distribution and sale of cards to rail line commuters.

In a letter addressed to PTOs of rail lines Light Rail Transits 1 and 2 (LRT-1 and 2), and Metro Rail Transit (MRT-3), Undersecretary Chavez cited the limited access to special gasses from Russia to manufacture NXP chips, the lingering repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic in major manufacturing hubs such as China, and increased shipment and logistics costs due to the global economic downturn as factors contributing to the supply shortage of stored value cards (SVCs).

As Grantor, the DOTr has directed all PTOs to make the necessary adjustments in controlling the sale of SVCs in order to avoid untoward incidents and to allay fears of rail commuters, and “exert their best efforts in communicating the same to their rail commuters.”

Beep Cards purchased at LRT-2 can be used for other rail lines such as MRT-3 and LRT-1.

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