Operators keen to discuss e-ticketing issue

WESTBUS Fiji Ltd claims absence of choice leads to less revenue. Picture: FILE

The Fiji Bus Operators Association is calling on the Government “not to throw the baby out with the bathwater” in terms of the e-ticketing system.

Association president Richard Lal said in a media statement they were keen to discuss the issue with the Transport Minister, Ro Filipe Tuisawau.

He said bus operators agreed that the e-ticketing system has been in place for the past five years and now was an opportune time to launch a review of how it had worked and how it could be improved.

“While bus operators acknowledge the e-ticketing system can be improved, we would like to urge the Government and stakeholders not to throw the baby out with the bathwater,” said the FBOA president.

“Just as many people have accepted and widely use the prepaid system for electricity (cashpower), electronic ticketing is also a part of daily modern life.”

He said bus operators looked forward to reviewing aspects of the e-ticketing system to improve efficiency and ensure it was serving the needs of the travelling public, was sustainable for bus companies and was fit-for-purpose.

Mr Lal said since its launch five years ago, an estimated 95 per cent of the travelling public had been using the system.

He said while challenges remained and the system could be improved, there had been numerous benefits for passengers, drivers and bus companies.

Mr Lal said attacks on and robbery of drivers had declined because of the absence of cash in buses, making it safer for drivers and passengers and during the COVID-19 pandemic, electronic ticketing contributed to a safer travelling public because cash handling was eliminated.

He said bus operators were ready to work with government ministries and agencies, Vodafone Fiji and other stakeholders in a consultative and integrated manner for the benefit of all.

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