Metropass: Smart joins the bandwagon with m-commerce enabled transport pass

by Ka Edong on July 29, 2007

Look what we’ve got.

Smart is coming out with a technology-enabled / mobile-commerce-enabled transportation pass at the MRT.

Photo of Smart's Metropass

Evidence is a spiffy silver booth at the North Ave Station of the MRT labelled “Metropass” and sporting a Smart Money poster. I didn’t find any details about the Metropass service, though. I had a chat with a cashier in a nearby G-Pass booth and they are aware that Smart will soon launch Metropass.

What will Metropass be like? Your guess is as good as mine. But I would pattern it with Singapore’s EZCard for their MRT:

  • prevalent
  • easy loading and re-loading
  • reliable (none of that “out-of-service” inconvenience)
  • Can be used in multiple MRTs (along edsa, along taft and along Aurora)
  • Can be used with the SAME scanner as G-Pass
  • Same price or CHEAPER than the regular MRT ticket

It would be silly (but conceivable, based on how the telcos compete) if Smart added another kind of scanner on the MRT turnstiles. That would make THREE ways to get through the turnstiles and it would be an awful waste of capital considering that it isn’t cheap putting together the technology. That capital expenditure is the reason Globe has been trying to peg a premium price on their G-Pass.

It’s also important that they refrain from pegging a premium price for the Metropass. They have to price the Metropass at SAME or CHEAPER than the regular MRT fare. Otherwise, uptake by the general public will be slow, just like the G-Pass.

My bottom-line message to Smart: Make the technology easy to use, reliable and cheap. That will increase the uptake of the Metropass. Then there will be a true impact on shortening the queues at MRT stations.

ka edong


  • ” – Can be used with the SAME scanner as G-Pass ”

    I Don’t think so. I saw some MRT stations recently with a new scanner just below the normal ticket slot.

    If i am correct, I saw the media launching of it in Umagang Kay Ganda 2 weeks ago, in cooperation with DOTC. They said that it will be in trial for one month before they will fully launch it.

  • hi Chris,

    Talaga? Yup. I suspected they’d use another scanner (but was hoping that there was a third-party integrator to put them together).

    So, what do you know of it? Same technology? What difference? how much?

  • I’ve seen the 2D scanner in Taft Station. I think its the same company who deployed the mobile payment system in SM Megamall Cinemas.

    Lets see…

  • Hi Chris,

    Do you mean to say Metropass will use 2D barcode?

    Tsk tsk tsk, if they’ll use 2D barcode, I’ll bet you my paycheque it will do worse than G-Pass.

    Here’s my take on TickeTxt 2D barcode, and here’s what happened to the SM Megamall 2D scanner: nilangaw

  • Metropass is a public kiosk working in cooperation with DOTC and MRTC to provide the riders with essential services.

    In addition, it will support all current and future electronic ticketing systems in the MRT and other transport and retail outlets such as buses and malls operating alongside the rail.

    Metropass is working hard to integrate all electronic payment systems into one cohesive solution for the ease, use, and affordability of the MRT riders. Rest assured that your concerns about usability, reliability, and charges are taken seriously by our group and our partners.

    As an aside, we did not launch the 2D barcode system in the cinemas, and we did not install the 2D readers on the turnstiles. That is another company that we hope to integrate into our plans.

  • Wow… Thats a quick response from Metropass…

    So kanino ung kinakabit ngayon na scanner dun sa MRT Taft?


  • Yup, that was a quick response. And they’ve got a website . But after scanning through the info on the website, I still couldn’t find info on the technology that will link Smart money and the turnstiles.

    Nevertheless, folks at MetroPass, you’re doing the right thing keeping in touch with bloggers like us.

    I saw and took photos of the scanner at Taft. Will provide link to photos when I have them uploaded na. (low batt na ako …)

  • na-figure out ko na 🙂

    Smart Money has had this partnership with PayPass for a long time na (BDO has a similar PayPass partnership).

    PayPass is a contact-less RFID debit (or credit) card. No need to swipe, just tap and you get debited/charged.

    There are a couple of these terminals around the malls in metro manila.

    PayPass is the contactless card that will give commuters access to the MRT. Therefore, expect to see paypass terminals like these in MRT gates.

    SmartMoney, on the other hand, will allow commuters to top-up their PayPass cards using their mobile phone.

    Good thing about PayPass: you can use it even outside the MRT, like in the malls.

    Pwede? Pwede!

  • I’ve asked about paypass in SMART Wireless Center – Greenhills:

    Currenly, under trial pa yung SMoney PayPass Card nila, hindi pa available sa public but one employee said that they (SMART Employees) are now using it.

    Currently SMART now provides free Smart Money Personalization until the end of the month… Baka inuubos muna nila ung stock ng old cards, in preparation for the PayPass cards.

    Magkano kaya pa-upgrade sa card? Hehehe…


  • Ayos yan. Mas-madaling i-proliferate sa ibang commercial establishments. and Smart won’t be alone trying to setup the infrastructure.

    PayPass (Mastercard) is also there to help push the adoption of the technology.

    G-Pass, on the other hand, will need to heave and huff to bring G-Pass beyond the transport network to other retail shops.

    How much ang PayPass? we can compare it to BDO’s PayPass card. matanong nga …

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  • Gilbert

    The RFID contactless card readers you will soon see all over SM MOA and other accredited BDO merchants are being provided by a third party solutions provider (ViVOtech). PayPass is but just one of the the contactless payment solution/provider that uses the technology. I actually have a demo unit right in front of me that I’ve been tinkering around with for the past two week. Can’t wait to see it in use all over the metro.

  • ATM cards are pervasive now, what with the easy access to cash cards and companies disbursing their paycheques via cash cards.
    Looking forward to the pervasiveness of the RFID contactless card!

    Thanks for sharing, Gilbert!

  • Excerpt from Gilbert’s reply to me:

    How I wish we can make it more prevalent even within small communities. I’m sure it’ll catch on as soon as the media and masses gets to see how it works in their daily lives. But till then, I guess we have to do things one step at a time….

    I replied:
    Hi Gilbert,

    It took more than 15 years for ATM cards to reach the masses in the Philippines.
    It will take a lot of creativity (and patience) for contactless payment solutions to reach the pervasiveness you imagine. But we will get there. Let’s get creative. Let’s let the creative Filipino mind get into work for us! Paano ba natin mapapa-“click” yan?

    Want media mileage? guerilla marketing ba?
    Ask Mari Mar (Marian rivera) to get caught on camera buying something kahit na wala siyang dalang “pera”.
    use showbiz — it sells!
    Some crazy ideas,Gilbert — it’s the crazy ideas that get things sparking!


    Ituloy, Sulong!

  • As you have already figured out, the Metro in MetroPass extends beyond the traditional boundaries of the rail system.

    Mastercard PayPass is already being implemented in other countries, including the USA, Canada, and Malaysia, and some of the partners in the Philippines include Smart Communications and various local banks.

    It is a contactless RFID solution that will enable quick and easy payment and identification by bringing your card in proximity to the readers. Many people have already used this type of technology : think radio-access cards used to open some office doors.

    We are working hard on rolling out new and improved kiosks in all the MRT stations and surrounding commercial areas including the malls. We also recognize that we’ll have to convince people with a tangible benefit to keep this card in their wallets and to use it on a regular basis.

    It’ll be more than just a card.

    We apologize for being a little vague, but we do have to keep some of the launch details under wraps until we finalize all the details.

    Your comments are really helpful!


  • Gilbert

    It’ll be more than just a card.

    We apologize for being a little vague, but we do have to keep some of the launch details under wraps until we finalize all the details.

    No need to apologize. We\’re in the same boat so that\’s perfectly understandable. We\’re probably working on similar projects with the same (wink) suppliers so we definitely have to keep mum on specific details lest we get preempted by other players in the market.

    Some crazy ideas,Gilbert — it’s the crazy ideas that get things sparking!

    I couldn\’t agree with you more Ka Edong!

    Let\’s all get crazy & creative. Good luck to all of us!

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  • hi, nice blog you have here.. care for exchange link? site
    please visit and post ur comments. thanks. godbless.

  • obviously, there would also be a massive growth for mobile commerce..`*

  • there is a progressive growth in the mobile commerce sector”~,

  • i dunno if mobile commerce can really took off like e-commerce on the internet ‘.;

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