Despite the fact that about 40% of South Africans use private vehicles to and from work every day, public transport is still a reality for most commuters.
It is reported that more than 30% of South Africans use mini-bus taxis to get to their daily destinations, while traditional bus use has dropped significantly over the last decade with almost 10% of all South Africans using this mode of transportation, daily.
Trains have become ever more popular in the public eye with the Gautrain launch in the last quarter of 2011, but not everyone has access to this luxury speed train that only operates between Tshwane and Johannesburg.
For most low- to medium- income households, the logistics around getting to and from their place of work is still at times a challenge. But ensuring transparent and accurate control of financial income through fare collection has been an almost impossible challenge within the public transport industry.
With more than 2,5-million commuters making use of the mini-bus taxis daily, in some instances as much as 40% of operator revenue is acknowledged to be lost on a regular basis. In addition, security for passengers remains an ongoing problem.
Tap-i-Fare, public transit technology product powered by Ctrack, is set to change this for the transport industry by giving owners and operators the ability to safeguard their assets and profits, while offering security and convenience for commuters and maintaining realtime visibility of their assets supported with the Tap-i-Fare mobile application at the same time.
Both EMV (Europay, Mastercard and Visa) and government legislation compliant, the Tap-i-Fare prepaid contactless payment system is interoperable and intermodal across the National Payment System. It offers both operators and commuters total convenience, security and transparency for the first time, with a reduction of fraud and greater security for the offline processing of transactions.
The Tap-i-Fare system collaborates with Ctrack’s renowned fleet management system, allowing realtime visibility of vehicles, along with a host of features including notifications regarding speed, fuel consumption, driver and vehicle behaviour and route monitoring. Not only does this facilitate a safer driver behaviour culture, but it also keeps the vehicles secure and always visible either through online or mobile software on your cell phone.
The system allows payment for public transport trips with a smart card instead of cash. The Tap-i-Fare payment system involves a prepaid bank issued smart card and functions very similar to prepaid airtime vouchers.
The system is easy to operate, as the driver simply needs to switch the vehicle on and the fares and routes are pre-programmed and managed from the back end; therefore reducing third party system intervention. As commuters enter the vehicle, they tap their smart card on the reader and the fare is deducted from the card.
The operator receives financial transactional information via e-mail and SMS, and monies are transferred to the operator’s bank account. These payments can be done daily, weekly and or monthly.
Commuters don’t have to carry or handle cash, and the simple “tap” system means even their Tap-i-Fare card is in sight for the shortest time possible. Commuters may also use their Tap-i-Fare card to purchase goods, in the same way a debit card is used. Because the card is prepaid, it allows users to plan and control their finances better.
The system was successfully launched in Cape Town inner city on the V&A route, in KwaZulu Natal a contract for 6 000 mini-bus taxis has been secured and is ongoing. The North West province will also see a launch of the Tap-i-Fare system in the mini-bus taxis by mid-2013, and further the system has already seen popularity in neighbouring countries such as Lesotho.
“The value of using contactless smart cards in mass transit fare systems is already well documented – passenger convenience, speed of boarding, reduced dwell times, more management information and greater fare policy flexibility,” says Pierre Bruwer, MD of Integrated Fare Collection Services.