MEMBERS of the public have raised their concerns over having to pay $10 for a bus fare card.
Land Transport Authority chief executive officer Naisa Tuinaceva yesterday confirmed the bus fare cards should be in circulation by next week and everyone would need to pay the fee to get a card.
Mr Tuinaceva said by mid-year, bus drivers would stop accepting cash and everyone wishing to travel on buses should use a bus fare card.
He said the minimum recharge rate for the card was $5.
"For now, bus drivers will accept cash and cards. By next week, the bus fare cards should be in full circulation provided those wanting to purchase the card pay $10 for it," Mr Tuinaceva said.
The cards can be purchased from any Foneology outlet and recharged at any outlet that provides MPAISA services.
"The bus fare card is similar to a smart card; it definitely will cost money. It is programmed in such a way that it can be used for life. Everyone will need to get a bus fare card," Mr Tuinaceva said.
A concerned Nadi resident Avineel Kumar, in a letter to this newspaper, asked why the card could not be made at a minimum cost or even provided free like the Electronic Voters Registration cards.
"While I support the soon-to-be introduced bus fare card system, what I fail to understand is why the general public should pay $10 to make that card," he said in the letter.
Mr Kumar further said "this will only burden the poor to look for extra dollars to a value of $5 before they can travel with their cards".
Mr Tuinaceva said assistance would only be given to the elderly, disabled and school children who were part of the bus fare programs involving the use of tickets.
A grace period has been given for everyone at acquire a card.