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By RANOBA BAOA
Vodafone Fiji Limited is subsidising bus fare e-ticketing cards by seven dollars in an attempt to make the project compulsory by mid March.
Out of $17 which is the actual cost of the cards, seven dollars has been subsidised by Vodafone while the remainder $10 will be paid by the user.
Head of Corporate Affairs and Value Added Services (VAS), Shailendra Prasad: “If a total of 400,000 users will pay for these cards, then Vodafone will subsidise $2.8 million of this.
“If there is a need to issue more, then Vodafone will subsidise more.”
Additionally, 100,000 cards, which is $1.7 million worth, will cater for the Government school subsidy scheme, Mr Prasad said.
Meanwhile, Vodafone confirmed that it has successfully commissioned the e-ticketing programme as required by the Land Transport Authority yesterday.
All Central and Eastern buses are expected to go live with e-ticketing from Thursday.
How to top-up
Vodafone is urging the travelling public to start securing the M-PAiSA E-Ticketing Cards and not leave it to the last minute.
“Users can top up to a minimum of five dollars and more depending on their preference.
“We strongly encourage users to use the M-PAISA scheme as this will be easier for members who are out of range and wish to top-up at any Vodafone outlet.”
Mr Prasad said partner Foneology is holding road shows at three different venue this week to assist with registration process and the purchase of the e-ticketing cards.
Take good care of cards
Mr Prasad added that they had received tremendous interest from public on the purchasing of the cards.
He advised the general public is advised to take care of the cards and not expose it to direct sunlight, heat or extreme weather conditions.
The cards are NFC (Near Field Communication) Smart cards and have a Central Processing Unit (CPU) and an antenna embedded inside the card.
Issuance of SIM cards
And while e-ticketing is soon becoming a reality for the bus industry, the use of Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) cards for fare payment is expected to roll out in the second phase.
“The use of SIM cards for fare payment is the part of the scope of e-ticketing but this is expected to be rolled out in the second phase,” Mr Prasad said.