THE Cebu Provincial Government has announced that it will implement the centralized automated ticketing system at Cebu South Bus Terminal (CSBT) starting April 15.
The Capitol’s embrace of technology aims at eliminating the old-school style of ticket issuance, which often creates a long line outside ticketing booths during rush hours or holiday season in pre-pandemic days and delay the dispatch of buses.
Amid the ongoing pandemic sparked by the new coronavirus, the leadership of CSBT, which is managed by the Provincial Government, sees that the new ticketing system which uses reloadable cards can help them observe social distancing—passengers need only to tap their cards at automated teller machines to pay their bus fares.
The Provincial Government awarded the contract to modernize the CSBT ticketing system to Topline Hi-Tech and Synergy Corp., which will conduct a dry run of its system on Monday, March 15.
Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia said overhauling the bus terminal’s ticketing system is in line with the National Government’s public transport modernization program.
In an interview in 2020, Garcia said implementation of the new ticketing system will be done gradually to allow passengers, including the elderly, to familiarize themselves with the system first. Hence, bus tickets would still be sold at CSBT during the first month of implementation aside from the smart cards that Topline will sell.
All bus operators that use CSBT, she said, must sign an agreement with Topline so the company would have no trouble in remitting the fare revenue.
The bus operators’ representatives were told in their March 8 meeting with Capitol and transportation officials that their buses will not be allowed to enter the CSBT premises if they refuse to enter into an agreement with Topline.
Garcia said she will issue an executive order for this matter, and it will be supported by an ordinance that will be passed by the Provincial Board.
The core of the agreement states that Topline will receive the passengers’ fares and it will later remit these to the bus operators’ accounts.
Eric Lim, Topline’s head, assured that his company will directly remit the revenue to the bus companies.
The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board and the Land Transportation Office (LTO) warned bus operators not to create their own terminals if they refuse to adopt the automated ticketing system.
Drivers would risk themselves getting arrested if they pick up passengers outside CSBT. Bus operators would also face charges.
LTO 7 Director Victor Caindec said picking up passengers outside the terminal violates the agency’s Joint Administrative Order 2014-01. (ANV)