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E-transport system

Emosi Balei, Suva
Tuesday, October 31, 2017

In its regular Saturday column (FT 28/10), I believe the Consumer Council made some scathing remarks against Savenaca Narube's analysis of the e-Transport system (FT 21/10). In my opinion the council failed to consider the scope of the writer's comments fully.

The council pointed out that eticketing is a prepaid service and this is already practised widely in the country through mobile phones, Sky Pacific, broadband internet and other such applications.

The council failed to consider other aspects of the issue which would have pointed out that these services are hardly used by the poorer members of the country. Sure the middle income earners and the well-off use these services and rightly so because they can afford to do so.

But if the council keeps an open mind I believe it would find that a big portion of the bus travelling public cannot afford mobile phones, internet, Sky Pacific and paying money upfront for bus fare.

These are "subsistence" and "hand to mouth" members of society whom the council are supposed to be protecting.

The council also stated that the transparent system provided by the e-Transport would allow for fair assessment of bus fares. Really? I believe the cat can be skinned in other ways without having to implement this expensive and poorly planned system now forced on the travelling public.

The use of locked fare receptacles in buses as suggested by Narube would be a more workable alternative before the introduction of e-Transport after proper and thorough planning. Under normal conditions, a trial period of at least two years would better prepare the people for this big change.

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