LRT Beep card: my experience with the new ticketing system

Tap-and-go na ang ticketing system LRT-1, Southbound man o Northbound! This is thanks to the LRT Beep cards. Hopefully, the next upgrade in our train system would be for the improvement of train availability.

As I write this in late September, I can’t say that I feel any improvement in my daily and nightly commute via LRT-1 during rush hour after the implementation of the LRT Beep card system. Maybe it’s just me, but have the lines for turnstiles when exiting train station gotten worse since we started using LRT Beep cards? I really hope that this is just because people are still adjusting in this new system.


This was originally written on August 17, 2015 and I edit this every time I have new info to share about the LRT Beep card system.


Tip: The best distance between your LRT Beep card and the turnstile’s panel is one inch. That will ensure contact between the panel and your Beep card. I just heard that from an LRT-1 staff. ๐Ÿ™‚

On August 16, Sunday, was the day of trial for LRT-1 Beep cards on Southbound rides. Around 9pm, we weren’t able to buy a Beep card at a certain station for our Southbound trip because it went out of stock, so we purchased paper tickets from LRT-1 instead.

The trial was nevertheless a successful one, based on the news: Beep card trial at LRT1 southbound stations โ€˜a successโ€™.

But on August 17, Monday, I was able to buy a Beep card through the ticket vending machine at LRT-1 today. This was how the ticket vending machine looked like:

lrt-1-beep-card-ticket-vending-machine

There was a staff assisting us as we used the LRT’s ticket vending machine. He was approachable and helpful, thank goodness. ๐Ÿ˜€

Using new “Ticket Vending Machine” for LRT Beep cards

You can choose to purchase an SJ (Single Journey) or SV (Stored Value) Beep card from the ticket vending machine. Because I often take LRT trains, I got an SV.

First, I inserted a 20 peso bill — a crumpled, soggy one. xD It was difficult to do, but it was accomplished with the help of the staff. After inserting 20 pesos, I still couldn’t get the Beep card, because the card cannot be acquired until it has been loaded with credit. I asked if I may insert a 100 peso bill to load it right then and there, and the staff said yes. But before I could do so, the timeout kicked in. Oops. The machine gave my 20 peso back. Phew!

We restarted the process and I inserted a 100 peso bill, then a 20 peso bill. Then… ta-da! I got my hands on my own Beep card.

Take a look at the plain front side of the LRT Beep card:

lrt-1-beep-card-front

And behind it, you’ll find the 16-digit card number printed in orange (I erased mine in the photo) and until when the card is valid. I bought mine in August 2015 and the card is valid until end of December 2019. Based on this, I’d say that LRT Beep card validity is for 4 years and 4 months.

lrt-1-beep-card-back

On the lower part, it says:

By using this card, the cardholder agrees to be bound by the terms and conditions published at www.beepcard.com.ph.

  • Transpo is the automated fare collection brand of the DOTC. This card may be used at locations where the Beep and Transpo logos are found.
  • If found, please return to AF Payments Inc. at 4F MSE Building, Ayala Avenue, Makati City, Philippines
  • For assistance, please contact (02) 737 9600.

Here’s the LRT Beep card receipt:

LRT Beep card receipt

I think the Beep card itself costs 20 pesos (Issuance Fee), without load in it. The “Purse Value” in the LRT Beep card receipt is the amount loaded into the card, which in my case, was 100 pesos.

Three of the tap-and-go ticket gates weren’t usable this morning for some reason. Again, there was a staff guiding us passengers in using the LRT Beep cards on the new ticket gates.

How to use the LRT Beep card and ticket gates

lrt-1-beep-card-ticket-gate-1

Approach the ticket gates.

lrt-1-beep-card-ticket-gate-2

See the blue rounded panels above the green arrows? That is where you tap your LRT Beep card to get through the gates.

Okay, the photos I took while exiting a station looked clearer:

lrt-1-beep-card-ticket-gate-4

Let’s take a closer look at a ticket gate on the way to the exit…

lrt-1-beep-card-ticket-gate-3

The ticket gate at the above photo is one that faces you when you arrive at a station. When you tap your SV (Stored Value) LRT Beep card, that screen will show you how much was charged and how much load your Beep card has remaining. Otherwise, if you’re using an SJ (Single Journey) and arriving at your station, look for the ticket gate’s “Insert SJT” slot where you have to insert the SJ card to surrender it — it’s right above the green arrow.

Details as of August 17, 2015:

LRT Beep cards won’t be usable on Northbound (Baclaran to Roosevelt) trips yet. Very unfortunately, we have to be part of the looooooooooooooooooong lines for the ticket booths to get paper tickets if we are traveling Northbound at night during rush hour.

However, LRT began to allow passengers to purchase an additional ticket / coupon in the morning so that they no longer have to fall in line again in the evening on their way home.

See the Tweet of LRT Spokesperson Hernando Cabrera (Atty. Cabs):

Target launch of LRT beep card system for Northbound trips is on the first week of September. Can’t wait until then! ๐Ÿ™‚

Announcement regarding discounts for Senior Citizens and Persons with Disability will be made next week.

Upgraded ang ticketing system pero ang hirap pa rin sumakay sa tren

It’s not uncommon to hear people complain about how the ticketing system was given higher priority than the availability trains that will transport people.

As a commuter who takes an LRT-1 train twice a day every weekday, I think that aside from the long queue outside the train stations, the hard parts of being an LRT-1 passenger are #1 waiting for a train that has enough space so you could squeeze yourself inside, #2 avoiding pickpockets & perverts and trying not to get hurt as you get squeezed by the crowd, and #3 getting out of the train on your stop, when it’s too crowded for people to let you pass.

The problem is that we don’t have enough available trains for passengers to take during commute.

In my opinion, it’s not so bad an idea to upgrade the ticketing system before improving the availability of trains. Maybe just like the trains, the old ticket gates were already in a bad shape. It’s possible that the funds were enough to afford the improvement of the ticketing system, but not enough for the trains. At least, there’s something they tried to upgrade in the system even if it’s only a small component.

August 18, 2015 experience with LRT Beep card & new system

On August 18, Tuesday, I asked a teller at Carriedo if I can buy a ticket for my commute tonight, from Libertad to Carriedo, but she shook her head. ๐Ÿ™ I decided to try again when I arrive at Libertad station.

About to use the LRT Beep card ticket gate, I asked the lady who was assisting passengers if the tap-and-go would still work if I put my LRT Beep card in my phone’s leathery flip case. And so I tapped my case on the blue panel, but sadly, it didn’t work. The lady asked, โ€œIs your case thick?โ€ I flipped the case open, exposing a thinner material that enclosed my Beep card, tapped that side on the gate’s blue panel, and then it let me through. It seems that the Beep card would only work if enclosed in thin case or wallet, or if not placed in anything at all. It would be more convenient if thicker materials worked too. XD I’ve seen train passengers in other countries tap their thick wallets on the gate panels without problems.

When the train I was taking arrived at Libertad, we saw a closely packed crowd of at least 30 people around the one and only working Beep card ticket gate at the station! The disorderly queue to the ticket gate had made very little progress when we saw another train arriving at Libertad. Ugh! Why was there only one working Beep card ticket gate that time? ๐Ÿ™

After the stressful experience at the ticket gate, I tried to ask a teller at Libertad station if I may buy a ticket for a Libertad to Carriedo ride, but he said โ€œSorry, no. You can only purchase it later at the Northbound side later tonight.โ€ Whaaat?! That was so frustrating. So I tweeted to Atty. Cabrera. Thankfully, he replied to me:

By the way, here’s Atty. Cabrera’s Tweet on how to transfer of balance from the old magnetic ticket to LRT Beep cards (Stored Value):

On August 20, 2015

Ticket Vending Machine at Carriedo was Closed Mode this morning. It was also on Closed Mode last night when I wanted to try reloading my LRT Beep card. I thought it was unusable last night only because the shift of the assisting staff had ended. I hope it’s not closed because it’s become faulty! ๐Ÿ™

And today, one or two Beep card ticket gates were not turned on at the station. I don’t know why but I can only hope that those new equipment aren’t broken. I took a peek st Buendia station and saw that at one exut, all 5 Beep card ticket gates were working.

Just like a couple of days ago, only one ticket gate was usable ticket gate at LRT-1 Libertad station. The crowd at the exit wasn’t as bad though, probably because passengers with Single Journey Tickets were asked to fall in a separate line and to surrender their used tickets to a staff instead of the one and only working ticket gate.

August 24, 2015 (Monday)

The ticket vending machine at my station was on “Out of Service Mode”. It was disappointing because I wanted to try reloading my LRT Beep card [again] with it today. Also, it seemed that only two of the 4 or 5 usually functioning turnstiles were usable today. Before exiting Libertad station though, it seemed like all gates were functioning.

The ticket vending machine at Carriedo station is often unusable, and it makes me worry about the reliability of this newly implemented LRT Beep card system.

September 21, 2015

Near the gates for the platform area at my LRT-1 station, an LRT-1 staff called out, asking if I had Beep card. I was surprised to find out that the Beep cards were already usable for Northbound trips! That was just about 1 week after I found out about the LRT-1 Northbound modified coupon system. I still had 2 extra 20-peso coupons with me. Good thing they’re still usable until the printed date of validity.

That was the same night I heard from a staff that the ideal distance of the LRT Beep card from the contact panel is one inch. I thought letting the Beep card touch the panel was best. xD

September 29, 2015 at LRT-1 Northbound

As I typed this, I could hear irritated sighs from other LRT-1 passengers around me. It’s so difficult to take a train these days. I thought that the implementation of a system with Beep cards would lighten our burden somehow but I was wrong. I thought that since we can load a large amount in Beep cards, less people have to line up at ticket booths, and that less ticket booth lines means faster transactions for everyone.

Last night at a northbound side of thr station, the lines before the inspection area had no sorting. We were allowed to fall in either of the two lines, regardless if we had a Beep card or not. It was hard to know. LRT-1 did not even post any notice at the base of the station to letus passengers know where we should fall in line. Past the guards’ inspection is where passengers without tickets split from the rest to fall in line for the ticket booth. Passengers with tickets were simply asked to go near the turnstiles without having to fall in line. People who just bought tickets also just had to go near the turnstiles. It was a disorderly new process. I was wondering, was letting passengers with tickets and without tickets fall in the same line really more efficient?

And tonight, I went to the entrance on the other side different from the one I took last night. Knowing that I could fall in either line regardless if I had Beep card or not, I just went for the shorter line. When I was already near the inspection area, near the train station’s platform, the guard announced that people without Beep cards should fall in line to the right where the ticket booth was, and people with loaded Beep cards should fall in line near the turnstiles. The line for the turnstile (yeah now it’s singular – only 1 turnstile was active and thanks to that, the not so crowded trains leave before we could get to the platform) was of course not in order. Puro singitan.

The station’s queuing policu is so confusing! I don’t know if they just changed rules from last night or if those 2 entrances have different policies. And I don’t know if only Libertad station at Northbound is that confusing to passengers at night.

One thing I can say for sure is that a SIGN on how passengers should fall in line would help us even a little. Sa kanan ba ang may Beep card na at sa kaliwa ang wala pa, o pwede ba pumila sa kahit anong side? Please post a sign down at the base of the station so that people know right away where they should fall in line, because it gets so disorderly near the platform area where the guards shout out where people with Beep card and without Beep card should go AFTER they have fallen in line.

LRT Beep card facts

  • Maximum load for Beep card is 10,000 pesos. I think it would be wise not to load it with a huge amount of money. How would you feel if you lose a Beep card that you just loaded with a thousand pesos?
  • Beep cards are to be used in LRT, MRT, and PNR train lines. There is a plan to let beep card credits to be used like cash in some stores in the future.
  • Reloading of Beep cards is currently available in train stations only, but there is a plan to make it available outside the stations. I think this would really help with the very long lines at train stations.
  • Validity of Beep card is said to be 5 years from the date of purchase of the card. Although the expiry date of my own card is set to 4 years and 4 months after my date of purchase.

Informative pages related to LRT Beep card

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Catzie

A Filipino programmer and baker. When I have time to spare, I blog, play video games, watch series (usually anime), cook dishes, draw, or spend a little time with pets. When I have the rare luxury of time, I get to travel and record song covers too! Running small-time online dessert shops Cookies PH and Catzie's Cakery.