Rwanda buses are among the first in Africa to switch to cashless payment
KIGALI, capital city of Rwanda. For six months or so, smart card machines have been fitted onto Buses in Kigali. To use these buses, passengers have to obtain a smart card called a “Touch&Go” card and load money on to it before boarding the bus.
Kigali start-up AC Group designed the “Touch&Go” card. AC Group is a technology company that specializes in smart transport solutions. One passenger described travelling to be much easier now since the card was introduced.
AC Group Chief Operating Officer, Phillip Ngarambe said the following, “The most common problem all [bus] operators face is that they lose a lot of revenue. By the time it gets to the company there [are] so many hands it has gone through – from the conductor, to the bus driver, to the person collecting it, to taking it to finance and the bank account – you have lost maybe 40% to 50% of your revenue by the end.”
Ngarambe gave the following reasons as to why a cashless system is needed:
- The initial cash system delayed buses
- The use of smart cards saves time
- Use of smart cards keeps the environment clean as it avoids use of tickets that litter the grounds in the city
Some people though, specifically, conductors have expressed fear to NewTimes of losing their jobs after this system is in full effect. Bus conductors are responsible for distributing tickets to passengers, they also collect the fare, and notify the driver whenever a passenger wants to get off at their desired destination. The conductors rely on the little money they get from these responsibilities to make ends meet. AC Group hopes to tackle this fear by re-hiring the conductors to be Tap&Go sellers. Also some conductors who know how the smart card works will be kept to educate commuters how to use the smart card.