Bus op­er­a­tors to politi­cians: Stop politi­cis­ing eT­ick­et­ing

‘Eight months have passed since elec­tronic tick­et­ing was in­tro­duced and the ma­jor­ity of the bus trav­el­ling pub­lic have been us­ing it with­out any ma­jor hic­cups’

Fiji Sun - - Nation - Source: Fiji Bus and Op­er­a­tors As­so­ci­a­tion Feed­back: jy­otip@fi­jisun.com.fj

The Fiji Bus Op­er­a­tors As­so­ci­a­tion urges politi­cians to stop us­ing the elec­tronic tick­et­ing plat­form as a po­lit­i­cal foot­ball and in­stead con­trib­ute pos­i­tively to im­prov­ing Fiji’s bus in­dus­try.

The call was made by FBOA pres­i­dent Richard Lal af­ter ques­tions and an­swers in Par­lia­ment about per­ceived prob­lems with the eTransport sys­tem. “Eight months have passed since elec­tronic tick­et­ing was in­tro­duced and the ma­jor­ity of the bus trav­el­ling pub­lic have been us­ing it with­out any ma­jor hic­cups. Us­ing the elec­tronic cards has be­come a nor­mal part of their daily rou­tine,” Mr Lal said. “There are al­ways teething prob­lems when­ever any ma­jor new tech­nol­ogy is in­tro­duced and we have al­ready iden­ti­fied these to Gov­ern­ment and are work­ing to­gether to ad­dress them.

“A loop­hole in the cur­rent eT­ick­et­ing plat­form is the sale of dis­pos­able cards on buses by driv­ers, in­creas­ing the risk of abuse and prompt­ing some pas­sen­gers to take ad­van­tage of this sys­tem be­cause cash is in­volved. Dis­pos­able cards were orig­i­nally meant for emer­gency pur­poses, not for reg­u­lar use. Reg­u­lar trav­ellers must use the eTransport card that has been given to them free of any cost.

“We need dis­pos­able cards with­drawn from sale by driv­ers to im­me­di­ately close this loop­hole. As the At­tor­ney-Gen­eral has said more eTransport recharg­ing points and vend­ing ma­chines for dis­pos­able cards are ur­gently needed. This will help al­le­vi­ate the pres­sure on the trav­el­ling pub­lic, bus driv­ers and bus op­er­a­tors.

“We also need ‘tap-on-tap-off’ to be­come op­er­a­tional soon. Re­quir­ing pas­sen­gers to tap their card again when they dis­em­bark buses will en­sure the cor­rect fare is charged au­to­mat­i­cally and driver in­ter­ven­tion is not re­quired,” Mr Lal said.

Presently, pas­sen­gers are only re­quired to tap-on and driver in­ter­ven­tion is re­quired for the cor­rect fare.

“If these two issues are ad­dressed im­me­di­ately, many of the prob­lems peo­ple feel elec­tronic tick­et­ing is caus­ing them will be re­solved.

“Once these issues are re­solved we will have a fully-fledged sys­tem that will ben­e­fit ev­ery­one. “On the whole, peo­ple have demon­strated their readi­ness for tech­nol­ogy such as elec­tronic tick­et­ing just as they have em­braced new tech­nol­ogy such as pre­paid elec­tric­ity (CashPower) and mo­bile money.

“We should be proud that a coun­try like ours has made ad­vances in bus com­mut­ing tech­nol­ogy and work to iron out the re­main­ing issues that con­tinue the mod­erni­sa­tion of the bus in­dus­try.”

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