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Province signs agreement for new South Bus ticketing system
By: Eleanor Valeros | Published Thursday, November 26, 2020
Cebu bus operators and Topline Hi Tech and Synergy Corporation signed Service Agreement for the centralized automated ticketing system and fare collection system to be implemented in the Cebu South Bus Terminal. (Junjie Mendoza)

Bus operators using the Cebu South Bus Terminal as their primary terminal and Topline Hi Tech and Synergy Corporation, developer of a centralized automated ticketing system, inked a Service Agreement Wednesday, November 25, at the Capitol Social Hall to mark a transition to an effective, secure, and efficient automated ticketing and fare collection system. 

Members of the Cebu Provincial Bus Operators Cooperative, and operators of Calvo Transport (Green), Calvo Transit, Gabe Transport, RLLC Bus Liner, Metrolink Express, and Vallacar Transit (Ceres) signed the agreement in the presence of Vice Governor Davide III on behalf of the Cebu Provincial Government, and Eugene Erik Lapasaran Lim with Brigitte Carmel Lim Mueller representing Topline Hi Tech and Synergy Corporation.

“Magpasalamat mi sa Province, especially ni Governor Gwendolyn Garcia, for the automation of the South Bus Terminal, ni Vice Governor Davide for witnessing the signing in behalf of the Province,” Topline president Eugene Erik Lapasaran Lim said.

Topline is designated by the Province of Cebu as the exclusive service provider and systems developer for the design, supply installation, operation and maintenance of a centralized automated ticketing system at the CSBT pursuant to Cebu Provincial Board Resolution No. 2005-2020 dated September 21, 2020.

Implementation of the centralized automated ticketing system will commence with a dry run in March. The official kickoff is set in April.

“Hopefully by December, maka-start na ta og install sa mga materials aron maka-dry run ta on March and maka-start na ta officially by April. Naa man gyud nay transition period kay of course naanad na ta og manual, so hinay-hinayon hangtod nga makasabot na pud ang tanan,” Lim also said.

Reloadable stored value cards, dubbed “Suroy Suroy tap cards,” will be used to pay for bus fares instead of cash. 

“Dako ta’g pasalamat ni Gov for taking the Province forward to the digital age. Instead of cash, naa na ta’y QR (Quick Response) code, i-scan lang sa pasahero, nya naa pud ta’y Suroy Suroy card. I-tap lang nila sa device and makasulod na ang pasahero sa terminal,” Topline vice president Brigitte Carmel Lim Mueller said.

The automated system and Suroy Suroy cards are meant to reduce the long queues at the CSBT especially during the surge of passengers on weekends bound for Cebu south and the midwest section of the Province.

These cards can be obtained from the loading terminals for P100 with an initial load credits of P70 and a refundable deposit of P30 for the use of the card. The refundable deposit will be paid back to the passenger if they wish to return the card.

Cards will feature Cebu Province’s tourist spots and delicacies to promote local tourism. This complements “Suroy Suroy Sugbo,” a flagship tourism program of Garcia based on a concept developed by the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Topline is also set to develop and introduce a mobile e-wallet application capable of generating QR tickets or purchasing QR tickets through an electronic ticket issuance device.

Further, it is stipulated in the service agreement that Topline is to collect from the transport operators a convenience fee and a maintenance fee. The convenience fee is P1.50 per passenger for fares P60 or below, and P2.50 for fares above P60.

The maintenance fee worth one peso per passenger is to be collected also from the operator. However this is waived for the first year, or to commence on the second year of the agreement.

Governor Garcia reiterated, prior to the signing, her position that “the maintenance fee should not be passed on to the passengers.”

“Basically, very happy mi ni Gov kay naghunahuna gyud siya sa katawhan, kay tungod dili siya gusto nga duna’y add-on nga fee ipasa ngadto sa mga pasahero tungod kay ma-burden, nya Covid ta karon. Mihatag siya og support sa katawhan,” Lim also said.

In addition, the ticketing system is expected to help decongest and control the volume of people inside the CSBT. The new system makes CSBT safer for passengers, allowing easier access to the designated boarding bays.

Since safety is a primary concern of the Cebu Provincial Government, the gate of the CSBT will also get automated.

“Karon buhatan na nato’g automated gate kay aron dili gyud makasulod ang dili pasahero,” Lim added. (Eleanor Valeros)