SODELPA Leader Sitiveni Rabuka says a SODELPA government will carry out meaningful public and stakeholder consultations on the E-Ticketing System and then provide a dual cash and card system with a discount as incentives for the travelling public to make the switch to the e‑card.
Rabuka has today called on the Government, Vodafone and Bus Operators to get their act together to solve what he calls a disaster that the e‑ticketing misadventure has become for families who travel on buses in Fiji.
In a statement, Rabuka advised the Minister for Transport Parveen Bala to admit he has made a mistake, readjust and move forward anew.
He says proper planning, foresight and consultation would have prevented the chaos and disappointment suffered on the first day of e‑ticketing.
Rabuka says the dilemma for the rural people is acute, as some cannot get a ticket to travel into town. He says often farmers will ask drivers to pay their fare on their return, after selling their cassava or farm produce in town.
Although people can buy disposable cards in the buses if they do not have the e-ticketing cards, Rabuka has asked why can’t drivers have a master e‑card to accept cash fare and then issue e‑ticket receipts to passengers who don’t have cards especially in the rural areas.
Rabuka also says a bus that broke down on McGregor Road yesterday was unable to refund the passengers their fare.
He is calling for a dual cash and card system, as every other country that has e‑ticketing has a dual system.
Rabuka says a three‑month trial should have been run to avoid the disappointment.
He says while the operators have been instructed by the Attorney General yesterday to have toll-free numbers for the public to complain, no such rule is in place for Vodafone, the sole provider which gives a charged number for non‑Vodafone users.
Rabuka says all the overcharging should be refunded easily by Vodafone or the bus companies and people should not be forced to travel to the bus company head offices to get refunded for driver error due to insufficient training by the bus operators.
He wants a joint office of the operators at all the main stations to deal with the refunds.