Local jeepney manufacturer Elmer Francisco Industries (EFI) plans to integrate a crypto-based fare payment system in its modern unit, Inquirer reports.
This after EFI inked a partnership with Hongkong-based financial technology (fintech) company, Madison Holdings, which will be the supplier of said jeepneys that will utilize blockchain technology and cryptocurrency payments among its many modern features.
The earliest EFI Francisco Passenger Jeepney prototype was launched on April 15, 2018. This was a response to the government’s plan to strictly implement the Public Utility Vehicle Modernization Program (PUVMP).
Under the PUVMP, public transportation including jeepneys should not exceed 15 years of operation. It also requires all public utility vehicles to pass stringent safety standards and be environment-friendly and fuel efficient by 2020.
This is where EFI’s modern jeepney comes in. According to the company’s press release posted on its Facebook page, the Francisco Passenger Jeepney’s modern features will include an automated fare collection system; built-in ramp and dedicated slot for passengers with disabilities; high definition TV; three-channel dash camera with backing video; four-channel CCTV system with 72-hour recording; full electric powertrain with no emission; and 15 to 20-minute unit charging time.
The good news for many operators is that while this modern jeepney sounds fancy, its price tag is anything but.
“Gagawa po tayo ng paraan upang hindi mawalan ng kabuhayan ang maliliit na mga operators (We will make sure that modernization will not cause small-time operators to lose their businesses), ” said EFI CEO Elmer Francisco.
EFI crypto-based fare payment
Francisco, a Cagayan de Oro-based businessman and senatorial candidate, has long been interested in cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology. In fact, according to his online profile, EFI is his entry into fintech projects.
Francisco ups the ante with his plan to “create the first legally registered Filipino cryptocurrency.” Calling it the EFI coin, this will be the primary cryptocurrency for EFI’s crypto-based fare payment system.
According to the same press release, the EFI Coin will be used to pay for fares, fast charging, spare parts, accessories, insurance payments, and installment payments for the unit itself.
Francisco says that the EFI Coin will utilize the Ethereum Blockchain Platform as ERC20 Protocol security instruments. He also says that this cryptocurrency will be very liquid because “investors may peer to peer trade them in cryptocurrency exchanges.”
However, with the government putting on hold the implementation of the PUVMP due to a major pushback from transport groups as well as an indefinite delay in the release of the official rules of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on Initial Coin Offering (ICO), Francisco’s modern jeepney with its crypto-based fare payment system may have to wait a little longer before it can finally ply Philippine streets.