‘No plans to revive cash payments for buses’

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From left, Minister for Public Works and Meteorological Services and Transport Ro Filipe Tuisawau, Assistant Minister for Education Iliesa Vanawalu, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Trade, Cooperatives and Small and Medium Enterprises and Communications Manoa Kamikamica and Assistant Minister for Women, Children and Social Protection Sashi Kiran on their way to the Parliament sitting yesterday. Picture: ATU RASEA

There are no plans to revive cash payments for bus services. This, according to Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Trade Manoa Kamikamica in response to concerns raised by members of the public who were affected by the e-ticketing system.

Mr Kamikamica said his ministry was in discussions with Transport Minister Ro Filipe Tuisawau, Telecom providers and bus companies.

“With the Minister for Transport, we’ve formed a taskforce which includes the industry, by which I mean the Telecom providers, which includes Vodafone, Digicel and also the bus companies,” he said.

“So, we have a committee now that is working on a solution. The plan is to try and get a tender very soon. By the end of the week, we hope to have an actual formal Request for Proposal (RFP) in draft form. And we’ll certainly be putting that out to tender to speed up the search for a new solution.”

He said while Fiji was moving towards a new digital era, in terms of security of cash, the e-ticketing system was safer for bus drivers and bus companies.

“Right now, we don’t plan to have cash because it’s open to too much risk.

“I think the bus companies, we have found that because of the ticketing, it has raised the level of revenue being collected.

“So in terms of security of cash, it’s safe for the bus drivers as well.”

Mr Kamikamica said the taskforce was working on eliminating challenges faced by people using the e-ticketing system.

“The key though is what the consumers are complaining about is just more agents to have out there.”

He said this would be looked into, as well as improving the network connectivity in areas where such issues have sprung up.

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