4 Reasons Why There Might Be No Stored Value Cards in LRT or MRT
A lot of Filipinos are wondering why the stored value cards of the Philippine LRT (Line 1) remain unavailable for weeks now. Is the Light Rail Transit Authority (LRT-A) merely experiencing technical difficulties or is there something more behind it? Here are some of the interesting speculations as to why there are no stored value cards available.
The current unavailability of the stored value cards became a burden for the commuters. Many would now need to suffer the inconvenience of lining up the long queue in order to purchase the ticket. Many are wondering why the LRT-A is not acting on this problem; hence, some speculations have risen up regarding this concern. The LRT-A stated that this issue was due to the technical malfunction of the machines that process the magnetic tickets. Half of their machines broke down. However, even if the cause was identified, the speculations still lingered. Here are four of the speculations I've heard about.
First Speculation: Shortage
Shortage - a scenario wherein the demand is greater than the supply. Simple as that. Some people said that it's just shortage, no more and no less. The LRT cards were not able to circulate back because they remained in the hands of the commuters. They explained that since the balance of the stored value cards starts at a hundred (P100.00), it would take some time before it will be fully consumed, and hence may cause some delay in the circulation.
The actual reason for the problem falls under this speculation:
The agency said three of its six ticket sorting issuing equipment (TSEI), the machines that process magnetic tickets for passengers, broke down last week.
With this, the LRT-A chose to give priority to the selling of single-journey cards since this is what people can usually purchase and afford. In addition, it is LRT-A stated that machines will be fixed in a minimum of 2 weeks.
Second Speculation: Technical Difficulties
Other people say that the reason why the LRT-A fails to issue stored value cards is due to some technical difficulties. There might be some bugs and glitches in the system that may have caused some alarming technical problems. Hence, in order for the LRT-A to fix it, they would be needing to stop issuing the tickets.
Third Speculation: System Upgrade
Some people are optimistic. They say that the LRT-A may have been aiming to improve the efficiency of the ticket issuance system, and hence might require to temporarily stop issuing the stored value tickets in order to fully facilitate the improvement process.
This may include improvement in their internal system of monitoring that may lead to less errors, mistakes and inefficiencies. This is considerably good, if it is really the case, because currently there are indeed minor and major glitches in the systems employed by the LRT-A.
Fourth Speculation: Preparation for Price Increase
Since there had already been some buzz regarding the fare increase for the LRT, people have speculated that this is a sort of preliminary preparation for the BIG surprise.
The current fare is about P12.00 to P20.00. And the stored value has this "Last Ride Bonus" wherein the ticket will still valid for one more ride even if the remaining balance is less than the minimum fare and at least P0.50. Hence, if the price will go up to the range of P24.00 to P30.00, the bonus will be much greater (in which the LRT-A may not be able to shoulder). Here's an example: suppose that your stored value has a remaining balance of P4.00 (after 4 rides of P24.00), the machine will still accept the ticket. In turn, it is a bonus (and a loss for LRT-A) of P20.00.
Hence, people suspected that the LRT-A decided to temporarily stop the issuance of stored value tickets worth P100.00, and will start issuing again but this time, at a higher price (perhaps double). With this, the instances of the Last Ride Bonus will be lessen which is a good thing for them.