THE Lusaka City Council has installed an electronic ticketing system at the Intercity Bus Terminus, in a move that has cheered transport operators in the country.
The decision, it is hoped will cut down on call boys who harass motorists at the terminus.
And Johabie Express operations manager Emmanuel Mweni has called for a more effective security system to ensure successful implementation of the new electronic ticketing system at the terminus.
Mr Mweni said the new system had the potential of ensuring that call boys and other middlemen who had infiltrated the ticketing system were completely cut out, with benefits to bus owners and the local authority.
He said a lot of money was being diverted to unofficial beneficiaries who were getting paid as call boys, ghost passengers and loaders.
“We commend this new electronic ticketing system which has the potential to cut out all middlemen from receiving money from operators at the Lusaka Intercity bus station.
“But there should be a more effective security system to ensure all middlemen are completely cut out from the system including protection of the structure from vandalism,” he said.
Mr Mweni was speaking during a stakeholder meeting to showcase the operating systems of the Electronic Ticketing System currently being installed as a pioneer programme at Lusaka’s Intercity Bus Terminus to increase council revenue and also promote transparency in ticket sales.
The new system allows passengers to purchase their tickets electronically from various points outside the premises to help decongest the station by reducing the number of people at the facility.
And Lusaka City Mayor George Nyendwa said the new electronic system procured at the cost of K12 million would modernize operations at the station, as well as increase revenue for the council instead of relying on gate takings only.
Mr Nyendwa said with over 144 buses using the terminus per day, and a population of 8,141 commuters passing through the facility on a daily basis, the council stood a better chance to benefit financially through the new electronic ticketing system.
“Currently, there is no standard system being used in the sale of bus tickets at Intercity, and passengers buy their bus tickets from individual operators separately without monitoring.
“And this brings in the presence of call boys who harass innocent commuters. The current system has resulted in unnecessary congestion at the ticket stalls, but this should be a thing of the past with the new electronic system in place,” he said.
Mr Nyendwa explained that with the new system in place, there would be less congestion, additional revenue for the council and a more transparent and audit free queries on the system.
He said Government has showed political will to improve operations at the terminus as they engaged the local authority in the creation of sustainable employment system for the hundreds of young people found at the station.
“Our programme is not to harass anybody at the station, but rather to encourage them to be good citizens and supporting their works through a more sustainable system instead of applying force to chase them away from the station,” Mr Nyendwa said.
He called for cooperation from the various operators at the terminus as the establishment of the electronic system was a pioneer project which was expected to be rolled out across the country’s major bus stations for uniformity.