Beep card shortage looms as supply woes worsen

The Department of Transportation warned of an impending shortage of beep cards as global chip supply producers struggle to find alternative materials to match the growing demand for the card used in rail transit systems in the metropolitan area.

Undersecretary for rails Cesar Chavez confirmed on Friday that beep card provider AF Payments Inc. “cannot fulfill the delivery of 75,000 stored value cards vis-a-vis the card forecast demand of Metro Rail Transit Line 3 for July despite its repeated and diligent coordination with card suppliers abroad.”

In a letter addressed to the Public Transport Operators of rail lines Light Rail Transits 1 and 2 and MRT3, Chavez cited the shortage was prompted by the limited access to special gasses from Russia to manufacture NXP chips.

He said the situation was even aggravated by the lingering repercussions of the pandemic in major manufacturing hubs in China and increased shipment and logistics costs due to the global economic downturn as factors contributing to the supply shortage of SVCs.

The DoTr, thus, advised the PTOs of rail lines to brace for an expected shortage of available beep cards due to the shortage of worldwide production of chips, affecting the production, distribution and sale of cards to rail lines commuters.

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

Chavez, however, assured that the transportation department is on top of the situation to ensure that the temporary shortage will not result in a crisis that might affect the country’s transportation system, especially as physical school classes resume next week.

Currently, beep card holders are advised to take care of the SVCs. The cards purchased at LRT-2 can be used for other rail lines such as MRT-3 and LRT-1.

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