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 by FBOA President Richard Lal comes after questions and answers in Parliament about perceived problems with the e-transport 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,” Richard 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 e-ticketing 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 travelers must use the e-transport 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“We need disposable cards withdrawn from sale by drivers to immediately close this loophole.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 e-transport recharging points and vending machines for disposable cards are urgently needed. This will help alleviate the pressure on the traveling 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,” 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,” said Lal.
“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.”