The Department of Transportation (DOTr) – Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) has partnered with mobile wallet GCash to promote cashless or contactless transactions amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The LTFRB is encouraging the riding public to use contactless payments once mass transport resume operations in a bid to prevent the spread of the dreaded virus.
“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,” DOTr Secretary Arthur Tugade said.
Taxi operators and transport network companies (TNCs) are allowed to resume operations in areas placed under General Community Quarantine (GCQ).
Through its partnership with the DOTr, GCash will enable taxi drivers to accept digital payments through the Scan to Pay (STP) app via its QR technology. Using the app, users would only need to scan the QR code of the taxi unit they are riding in paying for their metered fares.
GCash is also offering the GCash PowerPay+ solution to taxi operators. The platform is a fund disbursement facility that enables companies to send out salaries, allowances, and commissions through GCash to their employees or members nationwide.
In addition, GCash users may use their GCash accounts to pay for their transactions both online and offline, transact with over 70,000 billers and merchants, as well as transfer funds to over 40 banks in the country.
“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 DOTr Secretary Arthur Tugade and LTFRB Chairman Martin Delgra III in implementing the cashless payments program, as we move forward to the new normal,” GCash Head of Payments Jovit Bajar said.
To recall, the LTFRB has released Memorandum Circular No. 2020-018 which mandates the collection of fares in taxi units, and in the TNVS as “strictly through cashless payment or through online payment facility only.”
For his part, LTFRB Chairman Martin Delgra III said the new fare payment setup will not just provide convenience for drivers, and passengers. It is much safer than cash bills which may be contaminated with bacteria and viruses for days.
“Hindi na magiging problema kung paano ba ang sistema sa pagbayad ng pasahe sa taxi. Malilimitahan ang direct contact sa pagitan ng drayber, at ng pasahero. Mao-observe ang physical distancing. Ibig sabihin, dahil sa maliit o walang tsansa na kumalat ang COVID-19, mas maraming buhay ang ating masasalba,” LTFRB Chair Delgra III said.
Aside from lowering the health risk in using cash payments, GCash’s payments and disbursement facilities promote transparency and accountability.
GCash is now collaborating with various taxi operators nationwide to implement the said fare payment scheme.
“The implementation of cashless transactions for transportation in the new normal promotes greater accountability, transparency, and efficiency. It also allows drivers to participate in the financial landscape through financial technology. As a strong government partner, GCash fully supports this initiative and we are more than willing to pour in more support to other government endeavors,” Bajar added.
According to the LTFRB Chairman, aside from GCash, the LTFRB is in talks with other electronic payment providers which include Squidpay, Paymaya, Beep, among others.
“We had consultations with these providers over the weekend. We are encouraging these digital payment providers to partner with taxi operators and TNCs to lessen the chance of COVID-19 spread,” Chairman Delgra said.
“On the part of the TNCs such as Hirna, Grab and Owto, they are already accepting cashless transactions,” he said.