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On the 1st of October, 2017 the Fijian government decided to phase out cash based bus fare system altogether and replaced it with digital payments without beta testing out in the public to discover the pros and cons of this digital system.

A article written by United Nations Impact Capital for Development points out an old citizen was left with no choice but to transition from cash to digital without proper training or guidelines as to use the automated system which creates unnecessary hassle. We cannot expect anyone to adapt to this change into their lives all of a sudden, people need time to consider how accessible the proposed technology is in terms of catering for people from all works of life not just the literate. Most common scenario we have found out is that bus drivers are being mandated to adapt to these changes and disallow anyone to board the bus that doesn’t have the top-up booths nearby especially the remote areas and the only form of bus fare is cash which is insanely ridiculous. The decision makers need to understand before they mandate any type of technology that proper training and documentations need to be provided to the public so as to simplify their way to life not to make it worse.

Demographic studies should have been carried out to determine which class of people actually use bus services the most in the country and do they have nearby top-up booths in their vicinity in order to top-up their cards if need be. There has to be always an alternate way to cater with people who are not well versed with technology especially when it comes to topping up bus cards from their Mpaisa account or if they do not own a smartphone at all. Awareness need to be created for people who do not have top-up booths nearby that they can opt for a viable option to top-up their bus cards from their Mpaisa account which needs to redeemed when boarding the bus or visiting a Vodafone Mpaisa agent.

The change is overall beneficial as it has many advantages for the bus operators, bus drivers, government and public in general in terms of establishing a cashless society. In order to make an technology effective and efficient for everyone, people need to be educated, it basically defeats the purpose of mandating such a change if anyone does not know how to use the digital bus card in a proper manner. 

References transport-in-fiji

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