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Acting CEO Prasad: Expect Further Developments To E-Transport System

Acting CEO Prasad: Expect Further  Developments To E-Transport System
Vodafone
August 13
10:00 2018

Launched in October last year, the move was a major shift in Fiji’s ambitions to form a cashless society.

 

There are plans to add new features to and further develop the e-ticketing payment system, says Vodafone Fiji acting chief executive officer Ronald Prasad.

Mr Prasad did not say what the new features would include and when they would be introduced.

But said that the sytem was an important part of Vodafone’s  future investment plans.

Launched in October last year, the move was a major shift in Fiji’s ambitions to form a cashless society.

It was also seen as a system that would provide accountability over daily takings, helping bus companies boost revenue and supporting industry growth.

But it has also come under some criticism, in a nationwide debate that put the spotlight on the million-dollar bus industry like never before.

Bus operators have complained of no significant movements in revenue figures and other teething issues.

Vodafone Fiji was singled out in May’s Fiji Bus Operators Association annual general meeting.

Attorney-General and Minister for Economy Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum told the meeting he had asked Vodafone to improve its e-ticketing service delivery.

However, Mr Prasad believes the debate has since “settle down” and people have accepted the system.

“With the introduction of any new system, there will be a large number of people that will be resistant to change,” he said.

“(But) we’re now almost a year into it and things have settled down and there are a lot of positives that have come out of the whole system.

“Some of the best users are the young users – the school students and the people who are tech savvy.”

Over 800,000 customers are now registered on the platform, according to Amalgamated Telecom Holdings Limited’s 2018 annual report.

In Mr Prasad’s view, some common problems brought up could be solved if people “pre-planned” and if “common sense prevailed.”

“One of the challenges we are facing is that a lot of people are losing their cards – I’m not exactly sure how they lose their e-ticketing cards but not their bank cards,” he said.

“If people start taking a little bit of care, or if people starting using the permanent cards as opposed to disposable cards then it’ll be better for everybody.

“You also shouldn’t leave it to the last cents on the card and then run around trying to find a place to top up.”

Vodafone Fiji is collaborating with industry stakeholders to provide education and training for drivers and the general public, Mr Prasad said.

He believes awareness initiatives can ultimately help the industry grow.

“The challenge (initially) was educating the people about how e-ticketing works, and how it’s going to benefit them, the industry and all stakeholders involved,” he said.

“The great thing is that like all other e-transport systems in the world, this is an offline system – so it is not dependent on network coverage.”

“You can have the buses going out to places where there is no network coverage, and you should still be able to complete transactions.

“When the bus comes into an area with network coverage, it starts uploading all that information.”

Feedback:  sheldon.chanel@fijisun.com.fj

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