The transport sector in many developing nations is one of randomness and unpredictability while also being dynamic and innovative. Public transport in most developing nations is comprised of buses, minivans and rickshaws. The fares for these vehicles vary based on a lot of factors but there is a large component that is due to the whims of the driver and conductor. Fares are never stable and uniform across regions, routes and times. One can pay 1USD for a ride that is 10km and on another route it could be 1USD for a 5is 0km ride. Additionally, the vehicle owners face threats of theft, murder, extortion and harassment by police personnel. All this means the revenue returns are never constant nor predicable. Huge losses are incurred in this industry.
My idea aims to change all that so that the fare collection is accountable, modern and safe. It will be a device with a card reader and screen that is set up at the vehicle entry inside the vehicle. People will acquire cards which they then load with money. When entering the vehicle, they tap the card on the payment portal in the vehicle and the machine records the number of the card and the location. When the passenger alights, they tap again after which the machine calculates and deducts the fare based on the distance covered from the first location the card was recorded. This action of recording distance and calculating fares is repeated for every passenger, regardless of when and where they enter and alight from the public transport vehicle.
The device shall use a microprocessor for calculations and control of the system, NFC card reader and NFC cards for the customers, power source, GPS module for recording the location, cellular or Wi-Fi module for communicating with the server and various other components for support.
The fare calculation shall be based on the number of kilometres travelled by the passenger. The more the distance, the more the fare paid. The rate shall be the same regardless of which route used and what time. However, for short distances, a minimum amount shall be paid to avoid paying in denominations that are too small.
The passenger benefits from paying a fare that is fair and predictable. They don’t need to worry about carrying money when a digital solution works. They are also protected from unannounced raising of fares due to the whims of the conductor as the machine is locked down.
The conductor also does not need to have money on them nor have change for larger denominations. They reduce their risk of losses due to theft, accidental loss and extortion. Their money is safely in the bank. Additionally, the owners of the fleet can monitor revenue streams and therefore make plans for expansion and development of the fleet.
All this will help in developing and bringing the transport sectors into order and accountability hence general acceptability and respect. Having standardised the rates, the sector will gain trust and increase sustainability.