The colloquium was conducted by Harsha de Silva, PhD. Harsha began by explaining that the paper focus both on trains and buses, but in this colloquium will focus on the Bus transport.
75% of passenger transport is via public transport and of that 93% by bus and 7% by train. Roughly 5500 SLCTB and 18000 private buses. The fare is regulated by National Transport Commission (NTC). They also have timetables which are n0t implemented.
Shortest distance (~2KM) LKR 6:00.
Longest distance 260 KM – LKR 655.00.
Most of the BOP uses bus transport. 36% of the BOP use mobile and fixed phones.
SLTB buses use both ticket books and manual ticket machines to issue tickets to commuters
Private buses primarily use digital ticketing machines that prints out tickets. Can store data, process memory. Can even tell you how may people have to get off at the next bus stop. The one in use now is also lighter in weight.
These are mainly used in the Western Province and on a few inter provincial buses. Manual ticket machines are used in other areas.
Issues with the current ticketting system:
Money lost in Transit. Bus conductors and Drivers take the money, or tickets are not issued, or passengers do not buy the tickets. CTB estimates a 15% loss of revenue and private bus owners 25%.
Chanuka: How is the estimates done?
RS: through Load share.
HdS: Bus owners want to reduce leakage. They wold like to issue a e-bus tickets. So the solution is either a card system or a mobile. So from the suply side there is a need but what about the demand side?
A simple survey was done at the Fort railway station. Not a Sample survey but to get an idea. 2/3: 1/3 male: female. There maybe selection bias as it is a starting point.
What is the real cost of a ticket? Do the passengers receive the balance after getting a ticket? only 5% said that they always get there balance. Most people carry exact change. And only 50% of the people receive a bus ticket. Ticket checkers are used both in public and private sector. Some private companies have their own people to check for tickets.
So because of these issues, there is a need.
Possible benefits of e-tickets:
For Bus operators
- reduce leakage
- Offer loyalty plans etc.
- Cost only actual fare
- Can better schedule travel; save on transport expenditure
State [local government]
- Tax collection
- Target subsidies
What are the options?
Contactless smart cards: Oyster, ez link. Delhi is running a pilot, minimum reload INR 25.
Mobile phones: either through SMS or Near field Communication (NFC) merging mobile phones with a contactless smart card (Innovation).
NFC mobile phones: Nokia introduced the first in 2005 (3220). Break through innovation is instead of a NFC phone, what about an NFC SIM. China Telecom has come p with a NON NFC standard RF SIM. Nokia 6216: First NFC standard SIM compatible. Operator can load application.
Japan is leader with NTT DoComo Osaifu-Keitai e-wallet phones. Spain, Netherlands, France and Germany, mobile bus and rail ticket system are being piloted. China has started. UK to start by 2015 and fully switch to NFC by 2020.
- Not expected to be much of an issue as NFC emulated smart cards and thus only a chip upgrade is needed. But ideally on-board readers [fixed; not hand-held]
- Most mobile phones [including in LK at BOP] are not NFC-enabled. Will take time for NFC handsets to be widespread.
- New NOKIA innovation of NFC in the chip. Operator can easily facilitate NFC. 6216 in India already just USD 165.
- A supply side as well as demand side need exists for a better bus ticket solution
- Either a contactless ‘smart’ card or a NFC enable mobile2.0 service can fulfill this need. We do not recommend any technology but the pros and cons are given
- We have provided some theoretical-technical-attitudinal and policy relevant information for further study by all the stakeholders in order to take the next step
RS: The TRC can enforce a law that over the next few years only NFC phones to be brought into the country.
RS: Are you aware that in Sri Lanka if a service such as e-chanelleing or buying rail tickets a tax on tax if applied?
As a startup this can be used to reserve tickets for long distance services (AC/Non AC) like Jaffana.