Latra, bus owners at loggerheads over electronic ticketing

Tuesday August 09 2022
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

Dar es Salaam. The Land Transport Regulatory Authority (Latra) is planning to ban upcountry buses that haven’t adopted the recommended electronic ticketing system.

Latra’s road and transport director Johansen Kahatano said yesterday that by end of August, 2022, transport operators who would not have adopted the E-ticketing system would be barred from operatiions

“We issued a grace period until August 30, during which we continue creating awareness to stakeholders. I don’t think if with all these efforts we will reach the extent of banning operations to some buses or imposing fine to others,” he said.

Mr Kahatamo made the remarks at the climax of the Farmers Day in Mbeya yesterday themed: Agenda 10/30; Agriculture is Business.

He said currently they were focusing at creating awareness to stakeholders to ensure tickets are electronically sold, expressing optimisms that many buses will adopt the e-ticketing system.

“I was going through the system this morning where a total of 9, 728 tickets have been sold through the online platform. The trend will significantly increase as the process continue,” he said.

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Last week, Tanzania Bus Owners Association (Taboa) secretary general Priscus Joseph told The Citizen that it was expensive to adopt the e-ticketing system because transporters have to pay a mobile money service provider an average of Sh250 to Sh300 per ticket.

However, Latra’s corporate communication officer Salum Pazzy said several challenges surrounding e-ticketing system have been resolved alongside the Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA).

“Major complaints facing bus operators including the issue of floats have been resolved. The only thing remaining now is operators’ compliance,” he said.

“The exercise was previously put on hold by the Ministry of Works and Transport in order to address challenges facing stakeholders especially bus operators,” he added, saying licences would not be given to operators who fail to adopt the e-ticketing system.

He noted that buses whose licences have expired will only be renewed after owners and operators have adopted the e-ticketing system.

“Though there are penalties for incompliance, the authority doesn’t want to penalize or enforce the laws. Rather, it will continue creating awareness to stakeholders,” he said.

Taboa’s secretary general Joseph John suggested adoption of a system that will enable clients to buy tickets through their respective mobile money service providers.

“It is expensive to purchase and maintain electronic ticketing equipment because operators will be required incur additional costs to buy papers and tickets printing machines,” he said.

BM coach operation manager Milton Makundi said unreliable network has been a major challenge in several parts of the country.

“The system reduces congestion and do away with middlemen, unfortunate not all selling points across the country are well covered with internet network. Therefore, it becomes difficulty for of operators to adopt and efficiently operate the e-ticketing system,” said Mr Makundi.

According to him, Latra should give more time to operators in order to comply with its demands.