Successful smartcards in Durban

2013-07-11 00:00

COMMUTERS in Durban have adopted smartcards to pay for bus rides and shopping with enthusiasm.

Speaking at the national transport conference in Pretoria, Michelle Pearton of the eThekwini transport authority, said the Muvo card was currently swiped in 5 000 transactions per day and this number is set to increase when the old paper-based ticket system is phased out.

Since eThekwini Mayor James Nxumalo launched the smartcards at the end of October 2011, some 20 000 people have started to use them to make electronic payments for bus rides. An inner-city bus ride costs R5 on the buses of People Mover, Durban Transport and Mynah.

Pearton said the smartcard is similar to the automatic fare payment systems used in Curitiba, Brazil, Singapore and Bogota in Columbia, and by MyCiTi in Cape Town. The system may also be adopted in Johannesburg by the Rea Vaya Bus Rapid Transit System (BRT).

Pearton said the card, which looks like a bank card, can be pre-loaded with an amount of money as well as a specific number of bus rides. The card in Cape Town can only be pre-loaded with an amount.

“In future, the new generation card would hopefully be used for rides on trains and taxis,” Pearton said.

“The same card can also be used on MyCiTi buses in Cape Town and is the first card in South Africa that was certified by the Department of Transport.

“Apart from the card being safer and more convenient, the rides that have been prepaid remain valid for three years, compared to paper tickets that remain valid for two weeks.”

The eThekwini metro council is currently subsidising the Muvo cards and commuters can get them free from special Muvo buses that promote the system throughout Durban. Passengers can top up their Muvo cards at Sizakala centres or buy groceries from selected retailers. Pensioners, people with disabilities and scholars can get a concession card through a simple application process.

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