Golden Arrow bus Photo: Kurt Engel

CAPE TOWN - The Golden Arrow Bus Services has launched an electronic ticketing system - Automatic Fare Collection (AFC) which has phased-out the old printed tickets for cash fares and looks at rolling out smart card system this year.  

The transport company said, as of January 27, 2018 every bus has been fitted with the AFC consoles and all cash transactions are being processed through the new system.  All cash paying passengers will now enjoy the benefit of an off-peak fare during the hours of 08h00 and 16h00 - this has been based on a standardised percentage of the corresponding peak fare.


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Bronwen Dyke-Beyer, Golden Arrows's spokesperson said, the AFC system will make provision for the selling and updating of contact-less smart cards at various points and will control both cash fare validation and smart card validation aboard the buses. 

Route-based travel packages will be loaded onto a smart card and rides will be deducted when tapping on. Handheld verifiers will be used by inspectors to verify cards as an additional fare evasion counter-measure. Cash fares will also still be accepted and a printed ticket will be issued.

Dyke-Beyer further said the system is reconfigurable should it be decided in future that additional smart cards, such as those used by MyCiTi, should be utilised.

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Parkeon, an international company specialising in urban mobility solutions - with operations in Europe, Australia and other countries, was awarded the tender to roll-out this project for Golden Arrow. "Depending on exchange rates, such systems can cost typically between R60 and R80 million for a company the size of Golden Arrow," Dyke-Beyer added. 

INCEPTION

Dyke-Beyer said the electronic ticket systems were tested by Golden Arrow as far back as 1995.  "The company has since kept a close eye on international developments in public transport ticketing systems."

"A combination of factors including policy uncertainty by government and specifications within draft model tender documents influenced decisions not to invest in new ticket systems. Although our paper ticketing system has in the past met our needs sufficiently, the company has now however reached a point where we can no longer delay introducing new equipment, " she added.

"Once we are completely satisfied with the cash fare system we will introduce the smart card system as a replacement for the current paper clipcards," the bus company said. 

CURRENT SITUATION

Currently, the passengers are able to purchase paper multi-journey tickets from agents spread across the areas of operation. 

"All tickets are route-based and priced according to distance and this also applies to peak and off-peak cash fare tickets. Concessionary fares for scholars and pensioners are also available," said Dyke-Beyer.

It is believed that system makes it easier for our drivers to perform their duties because, although it is highly advanced, it is also extremely user-friendly. Our passengers will also benefit from the simplicity of the transaction process, faster boarding and the security features associated with a smart-card system. 

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- BUSINESS REPORT ONLINE