Smartcards and e-tickets are set to become the norm, Nguyen Hoang Hai, Director of the Hanoi Urban Transport Management and Operation Centre (TRAMOC) tells the Ha Noi Moi (New Hanoi) Newspaper.

*The pilot project on using e-tickets in buses began on October 6. What is the significance of this project?

The increase in commuter numbers and bus routes in the capital city indicates a clear need to improve service quality for passengers.

It can also be seen that the number of people using monthly tickets accounts for 70 percent of total commuters.

So, in this context, the shortcomings in management of ticket sales, the use of fake paper tickets and other problems need long-term solutions.

The city will develop a rapid bus and urban railway system in the future, so paper tickets are bound to be replaced by electronic cards or e-tickets. Therefore, results of the pilot project will set the foundation for having e-tickets issued on all bus routes in the future.

*What would you tell those who are still worried about the feasibility of e-tickets for buses?

The registration process for buying e-tickets is fairly similar to that of paper tickets. Commuters will insert their cards into card-readers installed on buses instead of showing monthly passes to the bus conductors. The card-readers will check the ticket's validity.

The city has decided to trial e-tickets on Route 06 from Giap Bat to Cau Gie. But, for the moment, we will accept both e-tickets and paper tickets.

A developed country like the Republic of Korea spent nearly ten years trying to apply e-tickets on a large scale.

We have submitted a proposal to the city for introducing e-tickets on all bus routes in the capital city. If the proposal is approved, it would take three years to implement.

*What are some of the steps being taken to ensure the pilot project's success?

For this, management should improve across the whole system, and commuters should receive proper guidance and reliable information on both paper tickets and e-tickets. We also need self-awareness and co-operation from commuters.

In preparation for the pilot project, TRAMOC has been providing information on e-tickets to commuters. It has also organised training courses for bus drivers, ticket sellers and inspectors.

During the pilot period, commuters may go to our offices on Cao Ba Quat and Nguyen Cong Tru streets to register and receive free monthly e-tickets. At the moment, 26 buses on Route 6 have been equipped with e-ticket readers, with two of them in each bus. Top-up facilities have been installed at 40 ticket vending sites. The programme is being implemented with 31 billion VND (1.47 million USD) in funding from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).

TRAMOC will work closely with JICA's experts to shorten the pilot period and introduce e-tickets on all bus routes in the city.-VNA