Electronic fare collection (EFC) will be rolled out in selected minibus taxis on April 1.

This means commuters will be able to simply swipe a card to pay their fare, rather than hand cash to taxi drivers.
SurePaw Technologies is implementing the technology on behalf of the South African National Taxi Council (Santaco).

The roll-out will start on the Johannesburg to Tshwane route, says SurePaw MD Chris Dewe.

The route handles 10 000 commuters on a weekday, and 14 000 on weekend days, depending on sports events.

“Government needs to formalise the taxi industry. It needs to see the routes and number of commuters on these routes before it is willing to subsidise the taxi industry,” explains Dewe.

Government currently only subsidises rail and bus commuter services.

“So far, we have equipped 180 taxis with card readers,” says Dewe.

Commuters can buy a one-way card, or a reloadable card, from cashiers located at taxi ranks.

They are also able to quickly check the balance on these cards by means of card readers installed at the taxi ranks.

Dewe says implementation was hampered by the fact that not all taxis had the necessary permits required by the Department of Transport. Also, an alternative had to be devised to ensure taxi drivers could refuel their vehicles without cash.

Taxis operating between Tshwane and Johannesburg will now stop at the New Road petrol station on the N1 to refill, as part of a special arrangement.

“EFC will eventually be rolled out to all 75 000 taxis under the Santaco umbrella,” says Dewe.

He says SurePaw will recover the implementation costs of the project through the transport fee.

EFC is set to be rolled out to all forms of public transport in South Africa, including bus and rail services.

The basic outlines for EFC will be presented to the Minister of Transport by the end of this month, says Department of Transport public transport strategy director Ibrahim Seedat.

Dewe and Seedat spoke at an Intelligent Transport Systems South Africa workshop.