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House: island’s public transportation to go digital

Cashless payments will be launched for the island’s buses and ferries on June 24, MPs heard.

Wayne Furbert, the transport minister, said digital fares, pledged in the 2023 Throne Speech, would mark “a pivotal moment in our journey towards modernisation and efficiency”.

The start date was later than that given in February, when Mr Furbert said it would launch this month.

The switch will begin with a purchase through a mobile phone or device, with a digital ticket displayed to staff.

Mr Furbert said: “Operators will be able to determine the type of fare purchased by the signal on the passenger’s screen, whether it is the type of zone purchased or an adult or child fare.”

He said the traditional option of buying a fare would remain for now.

Phases two and three will introduce the ability to track a bus or ferry’s progress through an app on a mobile phone, as well as paying with credit and debit cards

Validator devices, to be installed in all buses and ferries, will enable passengers to tap their phone, card, contactless transportation pass or digital ticket to come aboard.

Digital tickets will come with machine-readable QR codes, while the contactless passes will replace all existing categories of public transportation pass.

Mr Furbert said the switch would prove “groundbreaking” as well as phasing out errors linked to the traditional system and reducing the island’s carbon footprint.

Passengers will also have the option of paying fares for groups.

Mr Furbert said phases two and three were on track for launch in September, with a public awareness campaign to start from June 1.

Earlier this year, he also said the switch to digital would enable data collection on public transport use to improve routes and efficiency.

Jarion Richardson, the Opposition leader, queried whether fraud would be possible by taking pictures and transferring images of tickets between phones.

Mr Furbert said there could be “challenges” but the ability to pay by tapping the validator device would be secure.

Susan Jackson, the shadow transport minister, questioned how easily visitors would get internet access, but Mr Furbert said it was customary for tourists to buy it upon arrival.

He added there was a “possibility we can look at” of introducing wi-fi for public transport.

• To read the minister’s statement in full, look under “Related Media”.

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Published May 17, 2024 at 2:41 pm (Updated May 19, 2024 at 5:32 pm)

House: island’s public transportation to go digital

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