New e-ticketing system for Lahore buses ready for test run

Handheld devices to raise revenue by improving efficiency.


A passenger getting on the bus will tell the conductor her destination. The conductor will type it into the handheld device, which will give a ticket printout for the passenger. ILLUSTRATION MAHA HAIDER

LAHORE:


The Lahore Transport Company (LTC) is to give a handheld device for issuing bus tickets a weeklong trial run with a view to putting one on each bus operating in the city.


The e-ticketing pilot project will be launched on an Albayrak bus on the B-28 route (Airport to Valencia Town) in a few days, LTC officials told The Express Tribune.

A passenger getting on the bus will tell the conductor her destination. The conductor will type it into the handheld device, which will give a ticket printout for the passenger.

The device will be equipped with WiFi, GPRS and GPS, so it can send real time data on number of passengers to a central computer equipped with software to keep track of numbers and do comparative studies. The main data centre can also monitor the movement of the buses through a GPS device installed in the buses.

According to the LTC, some 20 per cent of revenue is lost due to conductors’ negligence.



LTC IT Manager Badieur Rehman told The Express Tribune that the e-ticketing project would address this problem as the exact number of passengers would be known. The devices would raise revenue, he said.

The handheld devices would also prevent the conductors from overcharging passengers, he said. If the test run is successful, the devices would be introduced on all buses.

A private company is providing the handheld device and software for the pilot project. The device, according to the company’s officials, costs around Rs70,000.

The last experiment in the city with handheld devices was a failure.

A private company introduced them at two parking areas to issue parking tickets. But, according to company officials, the devices had connectivity problems and printing faults so they often failed to print out tickets. The fee collectors then had to resort back to issuing manual tickets.

Other plans

Subject to approval, the LTC also has plans to install LED displays at bus stops that would show the expected arrival time of the next bus, similar to stops on the Metro Bus route, as well as to install digital video cameras on buses which will analyse the number of passengers by counting heads.

The LTC is currently conducting a survey on various routes to assess the workability of the e-ticketing project and whether more buses are needed on the routes. The city has 54 official routes for high-occupancy vehicles, of which 34 are operational. Companies like Albayrak, Foton Busco, Platform, Pak-Oz, Pak-Kor and others run more than 350 buses in Lahore.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 29th, 2013.

COMMENTS (6)

Simon Says | 8 years ago | Reply

@ A. Khan

Gud dear i am also thinking of same procedure but the thing is if passanger have only 10RS in his card and he travel 5km which cost 50RS, then how you will get the money from Passenger? if your answer is that it should go in negative it will be wrong because next time passenger travel again and swipe the card to make further negative balance Eg.: from -50RS to -100RS so after making card sufficient negative he through and buy a new card to travel again, there should be a fair usage policy OR System Security measures should be there to keep passangers away from voilation OR cheats.

A. Khan | 8 years ago | Reply

These companies should introduce concept of day passes. You pay a higher amount for all day travel within the specified route. There is no limit. All western countries have it and it is most convenient and cheaper to get around than buying individual tickets. As these passes are only issued at ticket offices, the problem with conductor pocketing money does not arise.

Best is to have a chip card system which is basically a pre-paid card. Passengers buy a card at ticketing office and add credit to it which can be Rs100 or 200 or whatever. Tap on when getting on bus at source and tap off when getting off bus at destination. Your balance is debited for the actual fare based on distance traveled. You top-up once your balance runs low. Its convenient and companies as Metro will see increased revenue as fare cheats will be eliminated. In case you "mistakenly" forget to tap off, you will be billed the maximum fare for that route. The burden is on passenger to ensure he taps on and off.

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