LATRA finalizing e-ticketing system for upcountry buses

18Sep 2019
James Kandoya
Dar es Salaam
The Guardian
LATRA finalizing e-ticketing system for upcountry buses

LAND Transport Regulatory Authority (LATRA) is finalising an integrated electronic ticketing system to be used by all upcountry buses.

Minister for Works, Transport and Communication Isack Kamwelwe.

LATRA director of road transport regulation, Johansen Kahetano told The Guardian yesterday that the system gives passengers a wide range of choice of vehicles.

He said although there are some buses currently using e-ticketing systems, these are scattered offers with limited choice of vehicles owned by those companies.

“As a regulator, we want to have a system that is participatory for all passengers to give them broader choice to select the services they want. We are finalizing it and it will soon be unveiled to the general public,” he said.

The whole process of strengthening the e-ticketing is intended to eliminate hassles passengers face especially during the end of year upcountry travel, he said.

Passengers have been facing hassles when approaching major bus terminals especially from passenger pulling agents who at times cause loss of properties, the director noted.

Besides, upcountry passengers will no longer be facing the nuisances they usually encounter when faced by touts at the terminal once they turn up for booking or for direct travel with luggage, he said.

LATRA started the modeling process after receiving views from transport stakeholders across the country on how best way the system could work, he emphasized.

The system will be able to keep track of payments made and how much the bus operators would have to pay in taxes, he asserted.

The data would be easy to verify as each payment would be tracked to the card that was used, while the receipts have details of the bus route and registration numbers for security purposes, he stated.

Last year, the Minister for Works, Transport and Communication Isack Kamwelwe said that the country was planning to embrace electronic ticketing for upcountry buses by the end of January next year.

The method is intended to ensure government revenue from passenger transporters is properly collected.

E-ticketing is at present offered by some up country buses, while the target is to make this facility available for all travelers to process their booking reservations smoothly and quickly.

About six years ago, it was reported that bus owners want to adopt new technology that allows travelers to make bookings via mobile phone.

The technology--the brainchild of the Dar es Salaam-based Adoptive Consulting Group Limited (ACG)--is a sure way of eliminating notorious touts from the bus ticketing chain.

Touts are cause for serious concern given their gang-like behavior when they sight a potential customer, as they swarm around passengers at the city main Ubungo Bus Terminal and proceed to grab their baggage, especially for lone women accompanied by children.

Some passengers, unaccustomed to this way of boarding a bus, end up getting confused and many have lost their luggage in the chaos.

A study conducted in 2010 by ACG said bus owners lose 3,000/- to the touts for every ticket priced 20,000/- to 40,000/- . That amount rises to 5,000/- for more than 40,000/-. The government also loses revenue in such environment.

Adopting the technology will help passengers save up to 2,300/-  on what they now spend on a ticket, the study had intimated.