Update: 10:52AM KAILA - As with all things new there is bound to be confusion. This is especially so with the new e-ticketing system that is being implemented today (Thursday) by the Land Transport Authority in the Central Division.
Many parents and school students will need to be well informed on what this new system is all about and how it exactly works so that they avoid getting confused over the details regarding this new system.
According to the LTA Electronic ticketing (e-ticketing for short) is a simple method of payment of bus fares. It is done by tapping your e-ticketing card over an electronic device mounted beside the driver.
Speaking with the spokesman for the LTA, Mr. Alfred Williame revealed that this new system was being introduced since they (LTA) thought that it would be a good time to introduce technology into the bus fare system since society was living in a technologically evolving society.
This new system of paying bus fares is set to replace the normal way of paying bus fares, which is by cash.
However at the moment, according to Mr. Williame there is no push towards the system being made compulsory. There is instead in place a dual system of paying bus fares whereby passengers can pay for their fares using either their e-ticketing card or cash.
Those that pay their fares using cash will have the transaction recorded electronically and then receive a receipt on the transaction. It is also important that they keep their receipt with them throughout the trip.
According to Mr. Williame the e-ticketing system is set to be in full flight by March. Mr. Wiliame also encouraged the general public to get their cards done.
As for school students there is a difference in the way that those that are being subsidized by the government and those that are not being subsidized by the government will be dealt with.
For the non-subsidized students, meaning those that arent being assisted by the government, they will go through the normal process as the rest of the general public. This means that they will have to obtain their e-ticketing card from any approved Vodafone outlet such as MHCC or the Vodafone Triangle.
These cards come at a cost of $10 and will then have to be topped up. The minimum value with which they can be topped up with is $5. Speaking with the CEO of the LTA, Mr.Naica Tuinaceva revealed that for those students that would be assisted by the government their e-ticketing cards would be ready by next week. These students will not have to pay anything in order to get the card however in case a card goes missing they would be required to get a replacement. This would come at a cost of $15. Students that are being assisted by the government cannot however use their smart cards outside the school hours. This would mean that they would have to catch the school buses in the morning and the afternoon.
Mr. Wiliame was also able to share some details regarding some of the what to do facts regarding e-ticketing. For students that are living in an area that has no school bus, they will be able to travel using the normal buses and pay a student fare instead of the normal fare that is charged to adults.
However he said that this would only happen from seven to nine in the morning and from two thirty to four in the afternoon. As for those students that live in areas that have school buses they will only pay the student fare on the school bus. Those students that travel on the normal bus will have to pay the normal bus fare.
In regards to the non-subsidized students that lose their e-ticketing (smart) cards these students will have to report it to their parents. They will then need to go to any approved Vodafone outlet and get a replacement card. This comes at a cost of $15. Mr. Wiliame also confirmed that anyone could pay for the fares of others. Family members can also give their cards to be used by their relatives.
However, according to the LTA children who are issued with government subsidized fares cannot pay another student or someone elses fare.
Also according to the LTA, people will know when to top up their cards when they receive their receipts after paying their bus fares. The receipt shows how much money is remaining in their account and if it is too low the card can be topped up at any approved Vodafone outlet or other places that have posters that say that e-ticketing cards can be topped upped there.
This will then be done by an authorized agent there.
As for the students being assisted through the government they will have it done with their schools. The e-ticketing cards can also be used in any bus around Fiji provided the bus has an e-ticketing device. For those assisted by the Social Welfare they will also be receiving an e-ticketing card. They will however have to check with the Social Welfare Department.