E-ticket simplifies travelling for GP taxi commuters

Monday, October 17, 2016

Pretoria – Gauteng minibus taxi commuters will no longer have to carry cash or worry about taxi drivers not having enough change for them, thanks to the introduction of electronic fare collection system (e-ticket) for minibus taxi commuters.

The card-based project, which was launched on Monday at the Bosman Street Taxi Rank in Pretoria, will be introduced on the Johannesburg, Pretoria and Mabopane (JPM) route.

The JPM Taxi Association was chosen to pilot this project, as it has been involved in previous pilot projects and has experience in dealing with the cashless system. The project will then be expanded to other taxi routes, with the aim of completing a national rollout within five years.

The taxi e-ticketing system is owned and implemented by FairPay and TaxiChoice - the commercial arm of the South African National Taxi Council (Santaco) is currently the sole shareholder, with Curve Group Holdings as the primary technology partner.

Gauteng MEC for Roads and Transport, Ismail Vadi, who attended the launch, welcomed the idea of an e-ticket for the taxi industry, saying it is a step in the right direction that will result in a single electronic system for public transport in Gauteng.

“The standard that must be strived for is ‘One Province, One Ticket’, in line with the national electronic fare collection regulations,” said MEC Vadi.

The project has been under development over the last five years, and has been through various phases of testing to ensure that all the components are working as required.

“The system has now been tested thoroughly, and is fully compliant with all laws and regulations, as well as requirements of all the parties involved. We are ready for the roll out,” said chairman of TaxiChoice, Jothan Msibi.

Making payments easy

According to Msibi, the switch to the card-based system offers benefits for everyone involved, starting with the commuter.

“The first phase, which is the JPM route, is set to be rolled out in February 2017, whereby commuters will be able to load their FairPay cards via point of sale (POS) devices and kiosks at taxi ranks, though eventually these services will also be available in selected retail stores.

“In terms of South African regulations, you have to use a fully-compliant EMV bank card. So even though it’s starting off as a taxi fare collection card, it can evolve so that commuters can use it for transactions just like a debit card,” said Msibi.

He said the technology also enables the easy provisioning of new services, such as incentivising the adoption of the card through reduced fares for pensioners and persons with disabilities in the future.

Curve Group CEO Fred Baumhardt said they believe in connecting people to opportunity and this project represents “a leap ahead for the South African taxi industry”.

“Through the use of digital technology, we can assist millions of hard-working people to be more connected, more informed and lead better lives,” said Baumhardt.

GPS device

Apart from being able to process card payments, the equipment installed in taxis also contains a GPS device, and can act as a WiFi hotspot, providing commuters with internet connectivity while they travel.

The information gathered through the GPS device will go a long way toward improving driver behaviour and safety in the South African taxi industry, with a record being kept of incidents such as speeding, harsh acceleration and braking.

The data will provide a more accurate understanding of the volumes of people making use of specific routes, allowing for better fleet management and route planning.

This information can also be shared with government, enabling it to make data-driven decisions when it comes to ensuring that underserviced areas get the required level of transport services they require.

The introduction of the FairPay card coincides with October Transport Month campaign by the provincial government, observed under the theme ‘Modernisation of Public Transport in Gauteng’. – SAnews.gov.za

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