MRT 3 has come up with its own digitized contact tracing system called the “MRT-3 Trace,” one they hoped would speed up the process of manually filling out a contact tracing form. Like most physical stores in Metro Manila, filling out a contact tracing form is required before you are allowed entry into the station.
But instead of facilitating faster entry, the MRT-3 Trace app (which is on its soft launch today) caused longer lines thanks to multiple technical glitches that passengers encountered. The full implementation of the contact-tracing app is slated to start next month, in February 2021. Because of the problems, there will still be manual health declaration forms at the stations.
The app itself is a web-based system meaning you don’t need to download an app on your phone. The new system asks commuters to scan a QR code upon entering MRT stations, which redirects them to the DOT-MRT page where they fill out health information prior to entry. Its sign-up page, although easy to fill-out, can take a while to accomplish given that accessing the site alone requires mobile data or wifi, neither are provided by the MRT station for their commuters. We’ve also tried accessing the site ourselves and found ourselves stuck at the sign-up page when accessed through a browser. Commuters cited having similar problems accessing the site in spite of having data connectivity.
Michael Capati, MRT 3 operations director told Inquirer through a text “This only shows that a lot of our passengers do not want to use the manual contact tracing form and start using the digitized process… This is one of the reasons why we had a soft launching so that we may assess what aspects of the web application need to be fixed.”
Perhaps Capati might consider copying Pasig City’s contact tracing efforts. PasigPass is the exact reverse of the MRT-3 app’s workflow: users sign up online for it and then generate a QR code to show establishments within Pasig City to scan, giving them exactly what they need in less than a second: address, health declaration, age, and the customer’s contact information. PasigPass works even without an internet connection as you only need to generate the QR code once and then you can save it to your phone as a photo.