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Durban buses get smart

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Durban bus commuters will soon be able to pay for their bus fares via a public transport smartcard called the Muvo card. The introduction of the card is the first large-scale cashless transit tariff system introduced to the city and will eventually be available for use on other transport forms like trains.
Durban’s publicntransport system is about to get a 21st century face-lift. Thenintroduction of the city’s first large-scale cashless transit tariff system, innthe form of the public transport smartcard (the “Muvo card”), is set tonredefine the way commuters here pay their bus fares.  Launched lastnmonth at the Moses Mahbida stadium by his Worship the Mayor James Nxumalo, the smartcard will benrolled out to commuters using the city’s buses early next year.

This is the firstnphase of eThekwini’s journey towards implementing its Integrated Rapid PublicnTransport Network (IRPTN). The implementation of IRPTNs throughout South Africanhas been legislated by the National Department of Transport (NDoT).

Initially thenMuvo card will be used on Durban Transport buses only but as the IRPTN isnphased in, the smartcard will eventually be usable on all modes of publicntransport, including trains. The IRPTN is intended to make eThekwini Africa’snmost liveable and caring city by the year 2020.

The Muvo card wasndeveloped in partnership with the NDoT, transport IT specialist Almex andnStandard Bank’s payment innovation unit Beyond Payments. Beyond Payments developed and supplied the “tap and go” smartcards andnensured they comply with MasterCard certification standards. Almex provided thenticket machines and scanning devices aboard the buses and at the self-servicenkiosks where credit can be loaded onto the smartcards.

In addition tonusing the Muvo card, which functions as an ‘electronic wallet’, on public buses, commuters will also be able to use the smartcard at retail outlets tonbuy groceries and other goods and services.

The Muvo cardnwill be piloted on the People Mover buses for six weeks starting in Februarynnext year. During this time, the 23 People Mover buses will be kitted out withnelectronic ticketing devices and the “tap and go” cards will be issued toncommuters. It will be possible to buy the cards and load them with money at ticket-sellingnkiosks along Durban’s inner city bus route. Once cash has been loaded onto thenMuvo card, the commuter will pay for their bus trip by tapping their cardnagainst the electronic ticketing device installed on the bus.

Following thenpilot phase on People Mover, the Muvo card will be rolled out to all othernDurban Transport buses from around April 2012, reaching commuters in Umlazi,nNtuzuma, Kwamashu and Rossburgh. The ETA will embark on an extensive publicityncampaign, by engaging with passengers at bus terminals, ticket offices,nshopping centres and other public areas to educate commuters about how the thenMuvo card works. Muvo brand ambassadors will be at these areas handing outnpamphlets and teaching commuters how and where to buy, load and use theirncards.

The brand name,nidentity and design of the new smartcard, reflects the eThekwini TransportnAuthority’s (ETA) dynamic vision as well as the energy and excitement of anvibrant city on the move.
ETA engaged withnpassengers on the buses to get their views with regards to the brand name andnthe Muvo name received a very favourable response.

With conveniencena defining feature of the Muvo card, the ETA will be adding to existing ticketnoffices and increasing the number of mobile ticket selling vehicles to make itneasier for commuters to buy their Muvo cards. Passengers will also be able tonbuy and top up their Muvo cards at Sizakala centres around the city and, innfuture this facility will also be available from selected retailers.

Pensioners, peoplenwith disabilities and scholars will also be catered for with the new systemnthrough a concession card programme that will follow a simple and convenientnapplication process.

Commenting on thenimplementation of the card, Thami Manyathi, head of the ETA, said: “Durbannjoins a number of other cities around the world that are using automatic farenpayment systems, such as Curitiba, Singapore and Bogota. We are proud to seenour city ranking among major cities around the world in this initiative.”

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