Metro Mass starts e-ticketing

BY: Seth J. Bokpe
The e-ticketing system being demonstrated. INSET: one of the new buses.

The Metro Mass Transit (MMT) last Tuesday rolled out its e-ticketing system to block revenue leakage and ticket racketeering.

The e-ticket system will be piloted on the company’s bus routes in Accra and Kumasi using its new 116 Huanghai buses but subsequently expected to be introduced to other routes across the country.

Project 200
The company has procured 200 air-conditioned buses for the project it calls “Project 200” with a $40-million loan.

The project, the acting Head of Communications of MMT, Ms Bernice Akologo, told the Daily Graphic “will be managed separately from MMT accounts in order to repay the loan.”

The remaining 84 buses would be delivered to the company next year.

Instead of cash exchanging hands, patrons of the buses are expected to buy a Metro card for GHc 2.00 and then charge it with a minimum of GH¢ 5.00.

The Metro card is an electronic card that allows bearers to have access to the new MMT buses.

The company said the e-ticket system will be in two forms—the installed e-ticketing device in the bus to be used by cardholders and a point of sale device to be used by conductors for those without cards.

Ms Akologo said the e-ticketing had become necessary because the company wanted to “apply modern technology to our operations to help us monitor and increase revenue generation in real time. E-ticketing will also reduce long queues at MMT terminals.”

Apart from curbing revenue leakage, Ms Akologo said the new ticketing system would also help to reduce the cost of printing passengers’ tickets. In 2013, the company spent almost GH¢ 231,000 on tickets. Last year, the company’s expenditure on ticket was almost GH¢ 384,000.

How the card works
To gain access to the buses, passengers with the Metro card will tap a card on a device installed at the entrance of the bus and the turnstile opens to allow the passenger to board the bus.

According to the MMT, currently the card was being sold at Metro Mass terminals at Opera, Kinbu, Kaneshie, Adenta, Kasoa, Rex and the MMT Head Office at Kaneshie, all in Accra, and at the Abrepo Junction in Kumasi. The tickets will be sold in the buses as well.

The reason many people give for not boarding MMT include the fact that the buses carry a lot of luggage—a situation that inconveniences passengers.

But Ms Akologo has said the new buses are meant for intra city journeys hence did not have luggage compartments.

“We want to encourage people to park their cars and use Metro Mass buses because they are comfortable, easily accessible and disability friendly,” she explained. 

The numbers
Currently, the company has 1,017 buses but bad roads in the hinterlands, especially during the rainy season, meant a little over 600 being active most of the time. The remaining has to be on stand-by on maintenance schedule. The MMT operates on 631 routes nationwide.

Incorporated in 2003, the core mandate of the company includes running on routes generally considered unattractive and unprofitable by private transport owners, in terms of the state of road and patronage.

Ms Akologo appealed to passengers to cooperate with the drivers and conductors to ensure incident-free trips.