City Bus smartcard ticking swipe system more expensive than cash payment?

…the city bus smartcard holders confused on inconsistency deduction of fare

By Tenzin Lhaden

The city buses in the capital are equipped with smartcard ticking system which has digitised the payment of fares. The smartcard ticking was incentivised in order to make people switch from paying cash while commuting in city buses making the fare cheaper over cash payment.

“Using the smart card system is much easier. Initially when we swipe the card, Nu 5 will be deducted, and to every additional stop you travel, Nu 1 will be charged. Cash will be little expensive compared to card because every 5 stops will add Nu 10,” said Passang Tshering, Officiating Director, City Bus Service.

However, Chorten Dorji (name changed), a commuter was not happy with fare deduction.
“I have been travelling on a city bus paying cash for almost a year now. One of my friends told me to get the card which is more advantageous, as it is less expensive than paying cash. I have then started using card after my friend recommended. But, I think it is not working that way. It is deducting same amount with every stop as though I am paying in cash. If I calculate, from my starting point which is city bus parking in the town to Mothithang, it should cost me Nu 12 to 15 which is not happening. Rather, Nu 21 was deducted which is more than thrice. So I wish the city bus management could look into the matter.”

Meanwhile, Passang Tshering, Officiating Director, City Bus Service said, “He must have travelled in different buses. There are 3 buses for Mothithang, one from Changzamtok, another from central, and one more from Langjophaka. More stop means more deduction. They should know which bus journey is taking how much sum.”

Working at a privately owned company, Yangki Pem is amongst many passengers who use the city bus service on a regular basis.“I reasoned that using a bus card would be more convenient and more affordable than paying cash, so I got one. I recently found that using a bus card costs more money than using cash sometimes. It has happened more frequently, but since we rarely look at the machine while swiping the card, we don’t notice much. Likewise, I overheard someone talking to a bus driver about how the bus card deducts more money often than the actual amount,” she said.
The bus drivers don’t have any idea how system deducts bus fare since the system is managed by the office.

Passang Tshering stated that, “There are two machines at the door, one for entry and another for exit. An individual will simply have to place the card on the machine and it will deduct the fare. While you enter the bus, you have to swipe entry machine and enter. Similarly, when you go out, you need to swipe the exit machine which is at the back and go.”
“Once you swipe in, if you don’t swipe out, the full fare for the journey will be deducted by the machine. If you swipe out, the actual fare for the distance you have travelled will be deducted,” he added.
Further, he said that, “Wage fluctuations should not be the case. System is directly associated and managed by the office.”

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