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Posted On: 27 October 2009 09:58 am
Updated On: 12 November 2020 02:10 pm

Smart card for bus fares soon

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Bus passengers in Qatar will soon be able to pay the fares using pre-paid smart cards, as Mowasalat is planning to introduce an automatic fare collection system in public buses.

Bank cards would also be accepted as a mode of payment at a later stage, once the system goes fully operational.

Mowasalat has tied up with Kentkart, a Turkish IT solutions provider, to introduce this service along with several other state-of-the-art technologies and IT solutions in the public transport system.

“We have launched a pilot project jointly with Kentkart to test the efficiency of these services in the public transport system. They will be implemented once the pilot project is completed successfully, subject to approval from the higher authorities,” Jehad Abid, head of IT operations at Mowasalat, said yesterday.

He was speaking to the media on the sidelines of the second UITP Congress and Showcase, being held at the Grand Hyatt hotel. Kentkart General Manager Ercan Unal and the company’s International Marketing Manager, Guliz Ozturk, were also present.

Kentkart has set up a stall at the exhibition where visitors can get a first-hand experience of how the automatic fare collection system in Mowasalat buses would work.

“Once the new system is introduced, passengers won’t have to bother about carrying change to pay the fares. They can buy a pre-paid card and use it whenever they travel in a bus,” explained Jehad.

The passenger will have to only swipe the card in an electronic machine installed in the bus and collect a receipt. The bus driver will be able to check the payment through a machine near the driver’s seat which is electronically linked to the ticketing machine.

The rechargeable cards will be available in a range of values. Disposable cards will also be made available for short-term use.

Once ready, the cards will be distributed through Mowasalat’s bus stations.

“ If there is high demand for the cards, we will make them available even in shops. They will be easily available like telephone cards,” said Ahmed Al Ansari, Mowasalat’s Business Development Director.

Unal later told The Peninsula that the electronic system used for automatic fare collection can also be used for tracking a bus on the road. The company is also helping Mowasalat provide information to passengers on bus schedules as well as routes through electronic billboards.