Glitches rock Lagos mass transit’s electronic payment platform

Electronic payment platform of the Lagos Bus Rapid Transport (BRT) scheme is having more glitches than the operators are prepared to fix.

At least in the last couple of weeks, the complaints are the same – payment machines are either inaccessible or shortchange commuters. More so, the ‘hurried’ roll out is unmindful of Lagos residents that have no active bank accounts.

However, experts have said that the teething problems could be tackled by introducing more convenient methods of payment, and deployment of innovations to encourage public acceptance of electronic payment systems.

The state government, in August 2020, launched the cowry card, an expanded e-ticketing system that automates fare payment for BRT.

he innovation seeks to create smart mobility through a cashless prepaid card as passengers can travel different parts of the state using the cowry card on any of the BRT vehicles.

But as more Lagos residents embrace the cashless initiative, its operations have faced one challenge or the other. A commuter, Salau Adegbenro, said the BRT is a lofty idea; it conveys about 40 per cent of passengers across Lagos network. However, the system is far from perfect; “the service is still very poor, particularly the digital payment technology.

“It’s always faulty and denies many passengers their balance. This is fraudulent because the payment machine at entrance is always deducting money but sometimes in excess of charges.

“The exit payment machines that are expected to return balance to passengers on short trips is always faulty and make such passengers pay higher than the normal fee. This is unfortunate because the drivers cannot do anything to rescue the situation,” Adegbenro said.

Another passenger, Victoria Areo, said her last experience was great, especially with the enforcement of cashless cards. She further observed that some BRT were not yet optimised “to allow you tap-out when alighting.”

For Adaku Lilian, initially using the BRT bus was the best, but now “a nightmare”.

“Loading the card was easy. There was orderliness, but now, it is rowdy. Even the service providers are more determined to frustrate customers.”

She said the electronic device sometimes debit passengers twice and when you complain, the bus operators and drivers would say reversal cannot be done.

Read more here: The Guardian Nigeria

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