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Fiji is not ready for bus e-tickets. The logistics is just not there to cater for the whole country.
As it is our brothers and sisters in the rural areas are already inconvenienced with very poor to zero bus services and now they will be burdened with this additional inconvenience of having to make sure their e-ticket cards are topped up among other everyday life issues.
Imagine a farmer trying to get his/her produce to the market and realises that he/she has no credit left on their e-ticket card.
Where will they find a place to top up early in the morning out in the bush, so to speak?
Then there’s the issue of a person coming in from the outer islands and he/she doesn’t have an e-ticket card. How will these people board a bus?
Then there’s the cost factor for a family of five or more, having to buy one card for each family member.
Vodafone says the whole family can use one e-ticket card provided they travel together on the same bus.
Now if there are school children in uniforms travelling with their parents, what fare applies in this case to the school children?
What happens when the children have to catch a different bus to school?
And how can a Class One student remember his or her pin number?
I can go on with the inconveniences and not properly thought out logistics issues, unfortunately there is not enough space available for me to do so.
The bus companies, Vodafone and the e-ticket machine supplier are saying that the travelling public will benefit. How, may I ask?
The only people to benefit from this e-ticketing system are Vodafone, the machine supplier and the bus companies.
The bus companies will benefit the most because they will be able to collect every cent paid in by the commuters.
Perhaps the Government and the bus companies should look at ways of improving the bus services and the buses first and the roads especially in the rural side.
As it is the bus companies are already receiving all sorts of tax concessions and benefits from Government.
Let’s file this idea away for a while now and look at much more better ways of improving our public transport system, especially for the rural commuters who have to wake up very early in the morning to catch a bus to sell their produce, send their children to school and so on.
Or perhaps we should go with both modes, i.e. e-tickets and cash until such a time all aspects of e-tickets have been thoroughly mapped out.
Finally we don’t need to have full ID’s to get e-ticket cards, they’re just bus tickets.
In the meantime what happens with Digicel customers?