About 3 000 KwaZulu-Natal taxis are set to be equipped with electronic fare collection technology.
JSE-listed DigiCore Holdings, owner of Ctrack, has concluded an agreement with Translog Management, which will see the installation of its Tap-I-Fare electronic fare collection solution in these taxis over the next two years.
The project, which kicked off earlier this month, will initially target all taxis and commuters within the Grange & Westgate, Ridge Park, Buffer, KwaNyamazane, Alexandra Road Extension, Richmond Crest, Pelham, France and Napierville areas.
Once the system has been refined, it will be rolled out across the district of uMgungundlovu.
The uMgungundlovu Regional Taxi Council, with its 40 taxi associations, collectively owns 3 700 taxis and transports more than 500 000 people a day.
The council’s system is currently cash based, with the result that checks and balances regarding vehicle condition, driver behaviour and passenger safety have been difficult to manage, monitor and enforce, according to taxi owners.
“The time has come for our commuters and citizens to see our taxis as a safe, afford- able, convenient and ecofriendly means of commuting,” says council regional chairperson Boy Zondi.
“The taxi industry has grown over the years and we, as the district of uMgungundlovu, are proud to be among the first in the country to embark on a project that will see the implementation of controls and rewards for good driving behaviour in the taxi industry”.
Pierre Bruwer, MD of Tap-I-Fare, a DigiCore associate company, says its technology “enables and supports the convenience and safety factors around electronic fare collection for both the owner and the commuter”.
“We expect to make similar announcements in other provinces in the very near future,” he adds. “Having partnered with Absa and MasterCard obviously makes things so much easier for us to provide a solution that meets all government and legislative requirements.”
The smart card project involves the fitting of a fleet management/tracking system to every taxi, which will alert operators and the management centre regarding speeding, route violations, accidents, theft and hijacking. It also includes a smart card – Tap-I-Fare – administered by DigiCore, Absa and MasterCard as part of their social development mandate. The card requires no registration under the Financial Intelligence Centre Act, or Fica, which makes it ideal for learners, rural commuters and pensioners. Commuters can also use it to buy goods at retail outlets with a personalised pin.
The system also features on-board cameras to ensure the safety of passengers with real-time viewing of drivers, routes and passengers.
According to the DigiCore, the fleet management system means that driving behaviour will be monitored at a central control room. Owners of vehicles will be notified by SMS of any driver violations.
Through this management system, driver profiles will be managed and good driving rewarded.
The system also allows for the provision of a 24-hour commuter call centre that enables commuters to register queries regarding the new system.
The KwaZulu-Natal project follows the pilot project for electronic fare collection in the public transport environment in Cape Town.