By Omar Bah
The Gambia Transport Services Company (GTSC) will on 1 August 2017 launch a new service dubbed “paperless ticketing system.”
The new service, according to GTSC officials, is a pilot programme meant to reduce the tendency of tickets being lost or stolen and as well reduce cost of paper ticketing on the bus company.
The new service, which will cover the Supex Express and Nuwari Express is limited only to the KM passengers and is expected to operate for two months.
It will then be extended to all regions and the sub-region, depending on the success of the pilot programme.
Speaking to local journalists recently at the GTSC conference room, the general manager of GTSC, Habibou Drammeh, gave an overview of this new service.
He said the paperless ticketing system is intended to allow passengers to obtain their tickets via mobile phones.
He explained that mobile tickets reduce the production and distribution cost connected with traditional paper- based ticketing channels and increase customers’ convenience by providing new and simple ways to purchase tickets.
According to him, the objective attached to this is to improve consumer convenience, increase revenue by increasing accessibility of tickets, reduce infrastructure cost, storage space, ticket transporting cost, and reduce ticket printing cost.
Regarding the implementation strategy, Mr Drammeh said the system would initially be used to sell tickets on the Supex Express and Nuwari express from Kanifing and subsequently for services in the reverse directions.
He said once customers pay for their tickets, an SMS will be sent to their phones indicating travel date, time, and destination and customer details, “prior to departure of the bus, a passenger manifest with all the passengers’ details will be printed and given to the driver.”
“If the passenger’s phone battery is low or phone is missing, then their ID card details would be checked against the manifest to confirm payments. Before departure, the driver will check their text details and match this against the manifest, and then put a check against their names,” he added.
Adding: “Inspectors boarding the bus will collect this manifest and validate SMS tickets against manifest.”
The GTSC general manager also disclosed that, the company in its bid to be the leading bus service operator in the sub-region, is planning to buy more busses in the future, “our target is to have over 100 buses in the not long distance future.”
Meanwhile, the company’s marketing manager Fabuka NJaay said the service will not only make work easy for their costumers, but will as well save cost for the company.