Dar es Salaam. An improved electronic ticketing system for upcountry buses will be introduced soon after the previous platform failed to operate due to technical issues, The Citizen has learnt.
The permanent secretary in the Ministry of Works and Transport in charge of transport, Mr Gabriel Migire, said a special committee involving key stakeholders, including bus operators and the government, was appointed to address all issues that were observed in the previous e-ticketing platform.
“Discussions started earlier this month, and we expect that by the end of October this year, we will have an updated e-ticketing system that will cater for the needs of operators, the regulator and travellers,” he said.
The government launched a system of purchasing tickets via a digital platform in January 2021 in line with licensing guidelines and regulations.
Travellers were required to download a mobile app, known as Tiketi Mtandao, and buy tickets from bus operators of their choice, with payment being made through mobile money platforms or banks.
However, the system failed to replace traditional paper tickets after travellers and bus operators alike pointed out many shortcomings.
A major concern among operators, according to Mr Migire, was the requirement that bus firms have funds deposited in the system to allow ticket purchases.
Tanzania Bus Owners Association (Taboa) spokesperson Mustafa Mwalongo said the system was “very complex and inconvenient” to operators.
“Usually, operators need to have hard cash so that buses can be repaired quickly in case of breakdowns or other mechanical faults. But with this system, one is not sure where they will get cash to take care of such problems,” he said.
Another problem with the old system was that operators were unable to know immediately how much they made in a day from ticket sales.
“Operators were not able to see the actual daily revenues from ticket sales. Operators raised this concern because they were used to tallying their ticket sales every day, something they were unable to do with the new system,” Mr Migire said.
“There were also concerns that operators were not consulted before the system came online, which means that vital input from these key stakeholders were not considered. That is why there was an urgent need to form a committee that brings together all stakeholders.”
The PS also said that before the new and improved system is unveiled, the government would hold meetings with stakeholders from various other sectors to get their views.
This will go hand in hand with an awareness campaign to help operators and travellers adopt the new digital technology.
In a recent interview with The Citizen, Land Transport Regulatory Authority (Latra) road transport director Johansen Kahatano said the e-ticketing issue was being handled by the relevant ministry, which was expected to come up with lasting solutions to problems experienced with the previous system.