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Bus owners raise issues on e-tickets

Saturday March 06 2021
e-ticket pic

Mr Said Jumanne processes a bus ticket electronically for a traveller (left) at the Ubungo Bus Terminal in Dar es Salaam yesterday. The Land Transport Regulatory Authority (Latra) had directed all long-distance bus operators to migrate to the e-ticketing platform. PHOTO | ERICKY BONIPHACE

By Hellen Nachilongo
By Kelvin Matandiko

Dar es Salaam. High penalties and delaying issuance of road licences for up-country buses are among the key issues that will be discussed during the bus operators’ meeting slated for today. The meeting comes at a time the Lands Transport Regulatory Authority (Latra) has intensified demands for up-country buses to provide electronic tickets to its passengers across the country.

On Thursday, BM coach director Mr Basiri Makundi told The Citizen that Latra provides road licences to new up-country buses on a condition that they guarantee to issue travellers with e-tickets. “But, the system of electronic ticketing at the Point of Sales (POS) is facing a lot of challenges including the demand to fill floats like money transfer agents which is equivalent to the number of seats in order to serve customers,” he said.

His statement means a bus carrying 50 passengers at a Sh30,000 fare, then owners will be required to fill Sh1.5 million float in the machine in order to attend to travellers.

Raha Leo Bus Services clerk Kassim Msafiri said yesterday that there was a need for the government to come up with machines that will operate without necessarily requiring the deposit.

“Bus owners spend Sh500,000 for a bus with a capacity to carry 25 passengers enough to serve 20 passengers leaving behind five others which is a huge challenge,” said Mr Msafiri whose bus plies between Tanga and Dar es Salaam.

The system also excludes passengers who don’t have smartphones, therefore serving them through the old system.

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The machines used to access electronic tickets online could do so through BusBora, My safari, Tingg, Safari Yetu,buspoa,iTiketi, Msafiri, Otapp, SafariOnline, Jetsafari and Bus Tiketi p[rograms.

“Insufficient education is the major problem facing most bus owners because POS is the system that is helpful to them. We will continue educating them,” said David Demetry, owner of Busbora program.

He has entered contracts with 11 companies owning 77 buses but only 40 of them have commenced using electronic tickets.

Explaining the other issue that will feature the meeting, Mr Makundi said passengers found with the old tickets are liable to Sh500,000 fine and that operators could pay between Sh1.4 million to Sh4 million for the same problem.

He said together with other challenges, the meeting would come up with proposals that will be submitted to the Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA), Latra, traffic officials and the ministry of Home Affairs.

Statistics available with Latra says that there were 400 buses plying to up-country from Dar es Salaam and that 4,500 buses plied from one region to another.

Bus agents say, one bus has a capacity to carry 52 to 57 passengers therefore an average of 240,000 passengers go on rotation when all 4,500 buses are on journey.

Reacting on the need for a lot of money at the POS, Latra director general, Mr Gilliard Ngewe said passengers can process for their tickets using their smartphones; therefore there was no need for more floats in order to serve passengers.


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