Opinion

e-Ticketing System Convenient To Thousands Who Travel On Buses

  Every month around $9.5million is spent by the bus travelling public in the country. In a year, our bus companies collect around a whopping $114million in revenue. Before the
12 Mar 2018 16:31
e-Ticketing System Convenient To Thousands Who Travel On Buses
e-Transport cards used in buses across the country

 

Every month around $9.5million is spent by the bus travelling public in the country. In a year, our bus companies collect around a whopping $114million in revenue.

Before the introduction of e-Ticketing, a third of this amount was pilfered. It was not accounted for and there was no tax paid on it.

Should there be a dual system where people have the option of paying for their public transport travel with cash or card? No. We tried it before. It did not work.

Government has been facilitating consultations on e-Transport for more than four years now. No one can say that people were caught off guard.

The black economy thrives on cash-based systems, which in turn creates tax evasion, pilferage and leakage in the system.

The bus industry and the cash-based fare system has long been raised as a major revenue leakage by the bus operators.

This in turn meant the Government was losing millions of dol­lars in tax collections that would help fund the many government projects which would benefit the people of Fiji.

Government is stead­fast in ensuring that Fiji, like the rest of the world embraces, the era of cashless wallets in terms of safety, se­curity and convenience.

Most people will be quick to point out that the shift to cashless transactions is primarily driven by the conven­ience it offers, however there are important benefits to both consumers and various stakeholders.

Leader of Opposition Ro Teimumu Kepa had raised a question in Parliament questioning whether there could be a dual system of payment.

The Opposition it seems, are still living in the dark ages because it is quite obvious they are reluctant to change nor are they tech savvy.

It’s almost as if they are willfully ignorant in relation to the benefits of the e-ticketing system which has pro­vided convenience to thousands of Fijians who travel daily on buses.

Through the e-ticketing system, consumers are now paying the exact bus fares-regulated bus fares.

Previously, when consumers were paying cash, there were inconsistencies with the bus fares, however, the e-ticketing system ensures consumers do not have to worry about being over-charged to their respective des­tinations as the e-ticketing terminals will deduct the correct bus fare.

The e-Transport cards are provided for free, and if the consumer lost their first card, the first replacement also comes free of charge. At major bus stands around the country, additional e-Transport kiosks have been placed and these open for longer hours. For example, the kiosk at the Suva Bus Station now opens till around 10pm.

With less need to carry cash, consumers using e-ticket­ing can also enjoy greater personal security. Pick-pock­eting for cash, for instance, becomes impossible when people stop carrying cash around which would lessen the burden of harm and injury.

There has also been positive feedback where people are now able to budget their weekly travel by topping up their e-Transport cards for the whole week as opposed to carrying cash which is more prone to impulse buying.

With the introduction of e-ticketing, Government has also been able to set up a Bus Fare Review Committee to look at the overall bus fare structure and the needs of the travelling public and this has been possible through the data available through e-ticketing.

E-Transport is working. Let’s not drag our country backwards.

JYOTI PRATIBHA

Feedback: jyotip@fijisun.com.fj

 




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