SPTC to go cashless on July 1, 2023 |07 June 2023
- All day trips will now be R10
By Sunny Esparon
The Seychelles Public Transport Corporation (SPTC) will officially be going cashless starting from July 1, 2023 for the safety of bus drivers.
This was announced yesterday afternoon in a press conference held at the SPTC headquarters in Victoria.
Acting chief executive, Geffy Zialor, explained that this project was being worked on for countless months and it is all part of the grand aim of minimising the use of money. This was done for multiple reasons, with the principal one being the safety of bus drivers.
“When we minimise the amount of money on the bus, it gives the drivers a better sense of security,” Mr Zialor stated.
Another reason is to speed up the boarding process. Mr Zialor explained that at present, the process of finding the money to pay the driver takes a bit too long.
“This makes them late but with the procedure of going cashless and everyone using the card, it will be less than three seconds and it will make it faster and more efficient.”
With the passengers having to use the SPTC cards starting from July 1, they will now only be paying R10 per trip compared to the R12 in cash. This will allow passengers to make a saving.
One of the objectives of the cashless project is to be closer to the commuters. The SPTC cards will be sold by various shops throughout Mahé and Praslin that have already implemented the system. Mr Zialor has reported that there are over 41 shops selling SPTC cards. This is to facilitate access to the cards for commuters who live further away from SPTC depots.
“As a commuter, you do not need to come down to SPTC to even load your card, you can load it at the shop closer to you,” he stated. The company said the number of shops could be increased with time.
Apart from SPTC and shops, another way to reload the card is through the app that was developed for this very purpose on the SPTC website. The card will cost R30 in the shops.
In addition, for the first three months, SPTC buses will keep limited amount of cards in the buses itself in case of emergencies. The limited card on the bus will cost R30 and will already have two trips available. Anyone applying for the card at the headquarters will have to provide their names.
However, the preloaded cards at the shops or on board buses will have a serial number, thus not requiring a commuter’s personal data. The advantage is that the card can be tracked in case it is lost or cancelled in the case of theft.
The first card granted by the SPTC headquarters will be free of charge, however, there will be a R50 fee to buy another one, should the passenger loses the card. The SPTC card does not expire.
There will also be a special card for visitors that is now in an advanced stage of development. According to SPTC, 60 percent were using the SPTC card and 40 percent were still using cash. With regard to schoolchildren, 80 percent of them are using the card.
Mr Zialor has encouraged everyone to get a card regardless if they are frequent travellers of the public transportation, or not. “It will be important in case of an emergency to have a card,” he explained.
SPTC’s general manager for Corporate Affairs, Alex Etienne, stated that there is currently no limit to what a customer can put on their card or a minimum balance.
“We are touching a lot of people’s lives so we did not put a limit because we know that there are various groups of passengers,” he stated.
He explained that this a big transition to make things easier not only for SPTC but for the public as well. The company will be undertaking an intense campaign to sensitise the public.
With the usage of the cards, cashiers will not be required.
The board’s chairperson, Andy Moncherry, explained that the workers will be moved to another section. He added that through going cashless, SPTC will now have more control over ticket sales and establish who is paying and who is not paying. “There are more benefits than costs,” he stated.
SPTC’s approved payment structure is R10 per trip for day trips and R15 after 7pm.
Furthermore, Mr Zialor explained that the structure will remain the same “from point A to point B is one trip”. This means, a trip to Beau Vallon will be counted as two trips, if a person is travelling from Anse Aux Pins, for example.
However, there is a workers’/parents’ special whereby someone can pay for one ticket to travel two trips.
Seychelles NATION gauged the public’s opinion in regards to moving towards the new cashless way of travelling by public means. The overall census was very positive.
Valentina Ferrari stated that this should be the way forward not only for SPTC but for the country as a whole. She explained that the health benefits of not having to deal with physical cash means that there will be far less colds and bacteria transfer in the near future. “I applaud this decision taken by SPTC and I hope that every other public entity learns from this.”
Another citizen who uses the bus on occasions, Josephine Ritchie, explained that if the overall structure is not touched and remains the same, then there is nothing to worry about. However, she maintained the fact that R10 is still too high and the price should be reduced back to R7. “The overall structure is still here so there is nothing to complain about. People who do not use buses will still use their cars, and those who still use it frequently or occasionally like me will get the added benefit of budgeting. But the price is still too high and I hope the government looks into this.”
Maxwell Desaubin maintained that he remains sceptical but optimistic over the SPTC going cashless. “It was only a matter of time. I would like to remain optimistic but let us see how it goes.”