TRIPKO card.

Sometimes, using public transport is the best way to explore a travel destination. Not only do you get a feel of how locals make their trips on an everyday basis, but you also get to interact with many of them.

However, the COVID-19 pandemic has made travelling through public transport a little less enjoyable, what with all the health and safety protocols that everyone needs to observe. But it’s what we need to do to get to the other end of this global health crisis.

Thankfully, there are improvements that has made riding a public bus a lot safer and more convenient—for travelers and workers (who still need to physically go to work on a daily basis) alike.

We’re talking about TRIPKO, a reloadable payment card that has become the most widely-accepted transport card geographically in the country today. With over 500,000 cardholders and almost 100 outlets nationwide after a year of operations, Filipino travelers and everyday commuters seem to be adjusting well to the “new normal” of travel.

As an Automated Fare Collection System, it allows for cashless transactions, which means less need to touch items (like cash or bus tickets) that may transmit the virus that causes COVID-19.

With TRIPKO, three main contact points are minimized to better protect the commuting public and the transport companies’ employees themselves. First contact point is the issuance of manual tickets. Second contact point is the exchange of cash to pay for fare. Lastly, contact tracing is easy because each TRIPKO cardholder is asked to register his or her card so that each time a passenger taps the card, TRIPKO automatically keeps a record of who are inside the public vehicle.

This complies with LTFRB’s “new normal” requirement to keep a trip manifest or logbook of passengers for contact tracing amid the pandemic. No need to hold the publicly shared pen and paper for manual logging onsite.

TRIPKO card is now accepted at Ayala-Alabang (R14) route, which serves some 20,000 passengers daily. A product of Journeytech, Inc., TRIPKO has also been deployed in other parts of Luzon, and some parts of Visayas and Mindanao. By the end of the year, some 1.2 million Filipinos are projected to be using TRIPKO.

The TRIPKO card is given free to new cardholders with a minimum load of P100 or P50 (depending on the route).

Just like with cash basis commute, discounts on Senior Citizens, PWDs and Students are granted provided that passengers inform the driver before tapping their TRIPKO card. Fare difference between ordinary bus and airconditioned bus are also applicable.