Wednesday, July 4, 2012

TABOA plans for e-bus ticketing network for passengers

TRAVELERS at Ubungo bus terminal in Dar es Salaam and elsewhere in the country will no longer be experiencing inconveniences they used to encounter when faced by touts at their terminal once they arrive for booking reservations. This is after the plan by Tanzania Bus Owners Association (TABOA) of establishing e-bus ticketing system is complete and ready for launching. Under the system travelers will be able to make booking reservations for their travel arrangements more quickly and with ease. TABOA’s Secretary General Enea Mrutu said in an interview early this week that, the service will help prospective travelers to get their tickets from anywhere they are, and added that the service will be launched in earnest and Ubungo bus terminal has been selected to be the pilot project. He said once the preparations are over, passengers will use their mobile phones to ask for the reservation in one of the transporting agents and be informed of the available quotations detailing price list and fare rates in terms of kilometers which is designed for the respective routes. He further noted that, a passengers in need of traveling will use mobile phone to make a call by using code numbers which will be made available at every regional bus terminal in the country and once the quotations given are certified, then a passenger will settle payments through M-PESA. He noted that, by use of mobile phones, travelers will call an agent of the transporting company for reservation and will be booked directly by the operator who shall have certified the details of the bus to a customer such as the seat number, time of departure, and bus registration number. These details will be issued to a concerned traveler and would not be issued to anybody. Describing the importance of the service, Mrutu noted that, passengers will easily be moving freely and avoid inconveniences normally they encounter when confronted by touts whenever they go to acquire tickets for traveling at a bus terminal. The service will reduce the rate at which theft has grown in most bus terminals in the country as some people have turned conmen who pretends to be traveling agents at the terminal to lure the minds of travelers and eventually rob them of their properties. According to him, a Dar es Salaam based ICT consulting company known as ‘Adaptive Consulting Group Limited’ has been contracted by their association to coordinate the network service and currently their ICT technicians are finalizing the configuration process. An anonymous Dar es Salaam transport agent who was interviewed by this paper about the network said that, “he is optimistic that the project would be successful if enough knowledge will be issued to the general public”.However, he is on the view of the fact that, people should be enlightened on the use of the network and has congratulated TABOA for this development concept, an initiative which he says will provide safety as everything will electronically controlled. Meanwhile, TABOA is currently counterchecking to find out owners of the offices as the terminal that is not working but pretends to be there by leaving the notice board by the door to indicate that are present whereas they are not.