THE Zimbabwe United Passenger Company (Zupco) yesterday introduced a convenient electronic ticketing system that will ease transactions and plug cash leakages from the public transport operator.
The electronic ticketing system -- which is in the form of a "tap-and-go" card -- also seeks to increase revenue collection and efficiency.
President Mnangagwa recently commissioned 39 of the first 300 buses which the Government has secured as part of measures to ease the plight of commuters who are being ripped off by private operators.
Said Zupco chief executive Mr Evaristo Madangwa in an interview yesterday: "This is our second day and we have not experienced any challenges so far. Sometime ago, we had a trial run on the system and that is when we discovered some of the challenges that we have since addressed.
"With the e-ticketing system, we are promoting a cashless society since one can only juice up their cards, which are purchased at our offices using all modes of payment."
The fare, said Mr Madangwa, is loaded on the card starting from a minimum of $5.
The card can only be reloaded with more cash by Zupco officials.
Mr Madangwa said plans were afoot to open e-ticketing kiosks for the convenience of the public.
In Harare, such kiosks will be at Simon Muzenda Bus Terminus (formerly Fourth Street), Market Square, Rezende Street, Charge Office and Copacabana and in all the residential areas.
Mr Madangwa said in future, loyal customers would enjoy discounted fares.
Secretary for Finance and Economic Development Mr George Guvamatanga said they were working in collaboration with one of the banks to introduce the new payment system.
"It's just all about increasing the convenience, and the efficiency and the operations of the buses and bringing relief to the travelling public at the same time," he said.
Several people in the city welcomed the move by Government and Zupco and urged them to ensure that the cards are available so that they purchase them.
Mrs Rachel Moyo of Chitungwiza said: "This is a good initiative that will help people to budget for their transport and especially taking into consideration that we were being forced to top up a certain percentage using EcoCash in order to obtain cash to pay for kombis from some of the dealers in town."
Mr Innocent Madzivo of Ruwa said the e-ticketing system was going to bring relief to passengers and it
was his hope that more buses will be availed to cater for everyone and to avoid inconveniences to the public.
On Monday, Government slashed Zupco bus fares by 50 percent, for both urban and rural trips, a situation that will see urban travellers paying 50 cents from $1 for distances within a 20km radius.
A distance of up to 30km has now been pegged at 75 cents, from $1,50 while the fare for a distance of up to 40km has been reduced to $1 from $2.
In March, Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa said Cabinet deliberated on ways of improving Zupco operations.
"Cabinet resolved that Zupco be capacitated through recruitment and training of critical personnel thereat," she said.
"It resolved that an electronic ticketing system be introduced to increase revenue collection and service efficiency and that the options to either import finished buses and/or knocked down kits for assembling locally be speedily concluded. Cabinet also mandated the Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development together with the Minister of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing and other related key stakeholders to assiduously work on revamping the country's urban mass transport system, beginning with Harare and Bulawayo."