Hundreds of bus passengers lined up at the Mowasalat’s Central Bus station office yesterday to buy smartcards as the newly introduced electronic card became mandatory for travels in the country.
The company had announced a week ago about the rechargeable smartcards priced QR30 becoming mandatory from yesterday. But it dawned on most passengers only when they went to board the buses yesterday morning.
Now, travelling without a smartcard could attract a penalty of QR10 per trip, irrespective of the distance.
A Mowasalat employee hands over a smartcard to a passenger. PICTURES: Shemeer Rasheed
Mowasalat officials said thousands of cards were sold across the country in the last two days, a bulk of which was from the main office at the Central Bus Station at Bin Dirham. An official said more cards were sold in the last one week than in the entire three months starting from November 23, when the cards were formally launched.
“In the last three or four days alone, more than 15,000 cards were sold and the figure is likely to go up in the next few days, especially during the weekend,” he said.
The official added the company had ensured that there were enough cards for sale all across the country.
More cards were made available at the retail outlets in the Industrial Area, Rayyan and Al Khor, all places with huge demand for bus services.
Many passengers were seen making inquiries about recharging and topping up of the cards. The cards can be recharged using cash in denominations of QR10, up to QR100 in a single transaction.
The company official said more campaigns would be held to make the passengers aware of the importance of possessing the smartcards.
Out of the QR30 charged for the first cards, QR20 would be pre-activated for use. The remaining QR10 would be transferred to the passenger once he completes journeys worth QR300.
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