E-ticketing machines will be fully operational in all buses from this Sunday.This is when E-ticketing becomes compulsory for all buses in the country and you have to ensure that you get your E-ticketing cards by Sunday. However disposable cards cannot be topped up once the balance runs out.
Only the unused balance of $1.40 or more in the disposable card can be refunded. Head of Vodafone E‑Commerce and Corporate Affairs Shailendra Prasad says the disposable cards are available in $2.00, $5.00, $10.00, $20.00, $50.00 and $100.00 denominations.
He says for any unused balance of $1.40 or more on the disposable card, the card holder can seek a refund from any Vodafone outlet before the 30 days expiry period. But Prasad says for any balance less than $1.40 in a disposable card, there is no refund available and it is paid to the government less the administration cost for processing.
A person who buys a $2 disposable card and has 80 cents or so left in it after some travel, cannot pay some extra money together with the 80 cents on his card to the driver for the next travel. Prasad says it is a requirement by law that from 1st October 2017, bus fare can only be paid using an eTransport card.
He says payment of fare using cash whether in full or in part shall not be allowed. Prasad explained it would be an offence under the Act if a driver is caught accepting cash for payment of bus fare, therefore a passenger must ensure that they have sufficient balance on their card to pay their bus fare for the required number stages of travel before they board the bus.
He says in the event an E-Ticketing machine breaks down, bus operators will have a hand held mobile console unit which can be used in place of the machine. Prasad says Vodafone is setting up over 1200 eTransport card top up service points with most shops around the country including supermarket chains, service stations, bus stand canteens and kiosks and smaller village shops in the interior providing top up locations for the public.
He says the eTransport cards for all students who rely on bus services have been delivered to the Ministry of Education and the ministry through its schools’ heads is currently in the process of distributing the cards to the students.
Prasad says there are two types of cards that have been distributed to students – the blue cards are for students who are assisted under the government’s fare subsidy scheme and these cards have already been topped up by government with sufficient balance to cater for the remaining schools days of this term.
He says the yellow cards are for all other students who pay their own bus fare to schools and these cards need to be topped up with sufficient value by the students or their parents before they can travel. Prasad says if a student was to lose the card, non‑government subsidized students can collect the first replacement card free of charge from a M‑PAiSA card agent which includes the Vodafone Fiji outlets.
Prasad says for students under the government’s fare subsidy scheme, there is an agreed process of reporting a lost card and requesting for a new card and the Ministry will handle this once informed by the school heads of any lost cards.
He says there is also an understanding with the government and bus operators that in such genuine cases, the student will be allowed a free travel and the child will not be left behind. However such a provision is not open to abuse and students must take greater care and responsibility for the safe keeping of their cards.
We had asked what happens if drivers charge extra fare by mistake and a student’s money runs out. Prasad replied in such cases, there is a redress mechanism in place to seek refund from the bus company and in case of any dispute for wrongful fare charge through LTA as the regulatory and enforcement body.
Image and News Credit: “fijivillage.com”