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Commuters seek e-registration for city bus smartcards

Sonam Deki

With the increase in the number of city buses in Thimphu, a greater number of people are using the bus service. It is also due to the rate which is much cheaper than a taxi. 

Smartcards are what attracted Sangay Om to avail the bus for the first time. She says a taxi was more convenient for her to reach her destination. However, after knowing about the smartcard she was more attracted to using the bus.

People who don’t have smartcards are waiting to create one.

Smart cards provide ways to securely identify and authenticate the holder and third parties who want access to the card. “When bus becomes more crowded, it is much easier to use a smartcard than to use cash,” a passenger said.

However, many people complain about the need for e-registration for bus smartcards rather than doing manual registration.

The office worker said, “I am a daily user of bus service as my workplace is far from my home. Smart Cards seem more convenient; however, I couldn’t create one”. He also added that creating smartcards is all about doing it manually and since he is new in the job, he couldn’t take a day’s leave either. 

Another office worker said, “if there is e-registration, I can simply apply through online and when done, getting the card won’t even take a minute”.

However, the city bus office says that they didn’t find any need to create e-registration because people have to come to the office anyway to get the card. At the same time, they also added that getting smartcards doesn’t even take 5 minutes.

Most people prefer to use a smartcard as it is cheaper than cash. “For a smartcard, the base expense is Nu 5 and, on each stop, you will be charged Nu 1. Nonetheless, on the off chance that you pay cash, the base expense is Nu 10 and it increments by Nu 5 for each zone you cross” said the city bus office.

The commuter travelling from Taba to town says when he was using the cash, he spent Nu 25 each. However, with the smartcard, he is able to save Nu 5.

They also share that the use of smartcards ensures funds are not being misused. At the same time the bus driver said, “The use of smartcards is more convenient and saves time. With cash, we have to give back the change causing time consumption”.

Most of the new workers are the ones who don’t have smart cards and are always travelling with the use of cash.

Karma Dorji said, “I have been using cash to commute since I couldn’t get time to go and create a smartcard”. He added that sometimes it’s hard for him to get the cash from the shop and he can get the cash only if he has bought something from them.

He also sees the smartcard as more convenient but if there is e-registration it would be more serviceable. 

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