Electronic swap cards excite city commuters

21Jun 2016
Getrude Mbago
The Guardian
Electronic swap cards excite city commuters

THOUSANDS of Dar es Salaam commuters yesterday thronged Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) ticket booths on the first day of the electronic swap cards that replace paper tickets.

UDA-RT Kimara station attendant Frank Shawa assists a would-be passenger to scan his electronic bus entry card in Dar es Salaam yesterday Photo: Selemani Mpochi

A survey carried out by The Guardian yesterday at various BRT stands in the city, including Kimara, Ubungo, Morocco and Kivukoni, witnessed a number of commuters packed in the manual ticketing points as the e-cards were over.

Kimara station supervisor Felix Muna affirmed that around 8am the cards were all been sold something which shows that the system has been well received by the public.

Speaking to this paper some of the ‘lucky’ commuters who managed to get the e-cards expressed their astonishment to the launch of the much awaited ticketing system.

“I got up very early today just because i didn’t want to miss this card...what makes me happy is that i will be no longer losing time in the manual ticketing points,” said Emanuel Noah a Kimara resident in Dar es Salaam.

According to him, with the establishment of the system he is now getting the real definition and importance of BRT buses in the city.

“Manual ticketing has disturbed us a lot in those last four weeks because the system was creating long queues of people something which made us to not to get a clear definition of this project,” he added

Another commuter, PrayGod Mkamba who came all the way from Kibaha in Coast Region to the city to get the card .
According to him, he come after the card because many of his daily economic activities are carried out in the city-centre.

“There was no way I could escape this card because BRT bus was the only transport that could bring me early to my work station that’s why I bought it,” he said.

On Sunday UDA Rapid Transit (UDART) launched electronic swap cards instead of paper tickets on BRT coaches announcing that over 200,000 cards have already been produced under the new e-ticketing system to be implemented by the privately-run Maxcom Africa Company.

Speaking at the system launch at the main BRT coaches’ depot in Dar es Salaam, UDART managing director David Mgwasa said the purpose is to make the city’s transportation system more efficient and reliable.

“After experiencing a number of pitfalls in the manual ticketing system, our commuters now have every reason to smile as they will no longer have to wait in long queues to get a BRT coach ticket or experience any other such problems,” Mgwasa declared.

He also clarified that the e-ticketing system will not immediately bury manual ticketing, stating: “We have decided that both systems will be used until the e-ticketing concept is well understood by everyone.”