Gauteng commuters should, in 2020, be able to use one card/ticket for all their public transport journeys, across all modes, such as rail and bus.
Speaking at the i-Transport and UATP Go Green, Go Smart conference in Midrand on Wednesday, Gautrain Management Agency technical and project services senior executive Tshepo Kgobe said commuters would not need to buy a new card or ticket, but rather use the one they have, such as the Gautrain gold card, across all the different modes of transport.
Kgobe is leading the project to implement an integrated fare management system in Gauteng.
The commuter is looking for convenience, as well as time and cost savings, explained Kgobe. He did not want to consider paying cash for parking, using one ticket for a bus rapid transit (BRT) system and then a different card for the Gautrain.
“We need to get to the point where we become more traveller centric. Smart ticketing allows the traveller to think about their trip as one journey, and not in various bits and pieces.”
The integrated ticketing systems would be EMV-based, Kgobe told Engineering News Online – Euro, Master or Visa based.
This means that payment would be made through credit cards or prepaid debit cards.
There were, however, numerous challenges to enable integrated fare management in the province, noted Kgobe.
Cybersecurity would need to form an integral part of the system from the start, and not an add-on feature, in order to protect customer data and privacy.
“The technology is the simplest bit,” added Kgobe. “It is unifying all the business rules that is difficult.”
Tshwane’s BRT system offers one pre-travel discount, for example, while Johannesburg offers another.
“When converted back into rand, you need a complicated algorithm in the background to allocate funds. This means we need to standardise business rules across all the public transport systems, which adds another layer of complexity.”
This was one reason why the establishment of the Gauteng Transport Authority (GTA) was essential to rolling out an integrated ticketing system in Gauteng, said Kgobe.
“You need a central authority to manage this. The GTA is not a luxury for Gauteng. You need a centralised point to manage revenue split, to allow common ways of functioning.”
The GTA should be in place in 2019. As a legal entity it would be able to enforce participation from all three metropolitan councils in Gauteng.
Ultimately the aim of the GTA was to ensure integrated transport planning and the pooling of resources, to the mutual advantage of all three metros, as well as the provincial government.