Adopting an automated fare collection system will help transport cooperatives protect their revenue from erring drivers and conductors, and the leader of the Federation of Cebu Transport Cooperatives (FCTC) has urged the group’s members to use it.
Ellen Maghanoy, president of FCTC, said the technology will help prevent drivers and passenger assistance officers (PAOs), also known as conductors, from stealing collected fares.
“You will wonder why these PAOs and drivers are loading passengers beyond the vehicle’s capacity, yet they are remitting the same money every day. You already know why”
she said in an interview on Saturday, June 24, 2023.
If FCTC members and other transport cooperatives in Cebu adopt the technology, Maghanoy said it would be better to use a unified system to make it convenient for passengers.
Maghanoy, who is also chairperson of El Pardo Transport Cooperative, said if there is no unified system, “the tendency is that passengers need to carry many cards and download many apps on their phones.”
As of February 2023, there were 1,214 MPUVs operating in Central Visayas, according to the Land Transportation and Franchising Regulatory Board.
The FCTC leader was among the representatives from 14 FCTC and 10 non-FCTC in Central Visayas who attended the consultation meeting with the chief executive officer (CEO) of an Australian company that specializes in fleet management system (FMS).
Panta Transportation CEO David Kahale spoke during the meeting and explained the possibilities of implementing the technology, which he said will benefit both transport operators and consumers.
“We imagine the future where the lines of technology and transportation in the Philippines will be blurred”
said Kahale, who initiated the meeting with transport cooperatives.
The meeting also provided an opportunity for representatives from the transport sector to voice their concerns and issues, as well as to strengthen the collaboration they hope to build.
Maghanoy expressed optimism about the possibilities technology could bring, particularly in terms of securing the transport cooperatives’ income.
As the government’s modernization initiative began in 2018, Kahale observed that MPUVs were not being fully utilized. He founded Panta Transporation with the purpose of improving transport systems by implementing the FMS.
FMS encompasses all necessary procedures to effectively manage a fleet, including ensuring punctuality, adhering to budgets, and making decisions on asset management, dispatch and routing, as well as vehicle acquisition and disposal.
One component highlighted under the FMS is the automated fare collection system, which offers a digital ticketing experience through self-service.
Kahale said he takes pride in pioneering cashless transactions in the country’s transport system when he piloted the AFCS in Marikina City back in 2018.
Panta, he said, also aims to ensure complete connectivity of MPUVs through a global positioning system (GPS) and the installation of equipment that assesses the vehicle’s health, notifying users of any deteriorating parts that require fixing.
Maghanoy said digitizing the system would be beneficial to operators. She pointed out that while operators have modernized vehicles, some are still operating in a traditional manner — still collecting fares in bills or coins.
She said few operators have adopted an AFCS from other transport tech providers.
Apart from promoting the technology, Kahale said Panta Transportation plans to establish the Unified National Transport Alliance in the country. Kahale emphasized the importance of building a group of transport operators, which can effectively coordinate with Panta and raise collective concerns to the government.
Prior to meeting transport corporations and cooperatives in Central Visayas, Kahale said he had already held discussions with the transport sector in northern Luzon last June 14, covering the Cordillera Administrative Region, Ilocos Region and Cagayan Valley.
Kahale said he intends to conduct further consultations in other parts of the country. He believes that the combination of Panta and Unta will ensure the long-term sustainability and financial health of the Philippines’ transport sector.
Once the memorandum of agreement is signed between Panta and transport cooperatives next month, Kahale said they intend to pilot the system in various parts of the country, starting in Cebu on Aug. 4.