Revolutionising the country’s passenger transport, Bangladesh Road Transport Corporation (BRTC) launched the use of a swipe card ticketing system, similar to that of London’s Oyster card.
Instead of queuing up for tickets at every BRTC bus counter, passengers can now use a smartcard to swipe a reader before boarding and getting off the bus.
The fare will automatically be charged by the reader based on the distance travelled.
The minimum recharge amount for the smartcard is Tk 45 while the maximum is Tk 1,000.
To avail the smartcard, being provided for free by Japan International Cooperation Agency (Jica), passengers will have to pay a token charge of Tk 50 and submit a photocopy of the national ID card, his/her name and address at BRTC ticket counters.
The launching of this system, part of a pilot project, was announced at a seminar, “Launching of ICT ticketing in BRTC bus services”, jointly organised by BRTC and Jica, the project’s technical partner, at a hotel in the capital yesterday.
The reader has been already installed in 30 BRTC buses plying the Uttara-Motijheel route, said BRTC General Manager (operations) Maj Firoj Khannun Faragi.
In the next two months, buses on the Mirpur 12-Motijheel and Mohammadpur-Badda routes will have the reader, he said.
Some 210 buses plying the three city routes will have this system while 25,000 digital cards will be distributed to minimise passengers’ sufferings and improve the fare collection system, added Firoj.
“Initially the project will continue till September but we hope to renew it if the project seems viable,” he said.
Addressing the seminar as the chief guest, Communications Minister Obaidul Quader expressed his discontent with the present traffic condition in Dhaka’s roads.
Despite several initiatives, the government has achieved “zero progress” in minimising traffic congestion in the city, he said.
Observance of political programmes in the city is one of the major causes behind traffic jams while political archways on highways hamper smooth movement of vehicles, he said.
If the smartcard system proved effective in practice, it will be introduced in all private passenger carrier vehicles in phases, he added.
BRTC will introduce 290 more buses soon, around 100 of which will be used to transport students of schools and colleges, he said.
The nagging traffic gridlock will be minimised once the three flyovers open in the city. “We will also take stern action against illegal parking,” said the minister.
Communications Secretary MAN Siddique chaired the seminar while BRTC Chairman MM Iqbal and Jica Chief Representative in Bangladesh Dr Takao Toda also spoke at the function.
-With The Daily Star input