By Tesfaye Getnet
Soon people traveling by bus to towns outside Addis Ababa will be able to purchase their tickets electronically. The Federal Transport Authority (FTA) announced that a new system powered by Kifya Financial Technology PLC will allow customers to book and purchase bus tickets weeks in advance of their travel date. This will reduce costs, including the inconvenience of traveling to buy the ticket. It also will eliminate the uncertainty of knowing for sure that the bus will actually leave at the time and on the date it is supposed to.
Every day travelers who are going from Addis Ababa to different regions can get the tickets from five terminals: Awtobis Tera, Asko, Ayer Tena, Lamberet and Kality stations and in the near future all Lehulu Centers will provide the service.
The initiative was brought about through the progressive partnership of 21 bus associations, which comprises 1,500 buses. Together, they have formed cross- regional bus services as a cooperative brand to unveil the new payment and ticketing system.
Lehulu Ticketing can handle 170 transport lines and 65 agents will be handling orders. Currently some people board busses without tickets and there isn’t a reliable schedule of when the busses leave. During a press conference last Tuesday at Ellile Hotel Kassahun H/Mariam, FTA Director, said “we are happy to start this system, we firmly believe that the current ticketing system needs to be improved as it was hard for people to get tickets or to get rid of illegal busses so now we begin the first step by launching an electronic system and we will expand this to all regions in the near future.‘’
This will allow the government to get a better idea of how many people are riding a particular bus line.
“One reason for the shortage of buses is that we don’t have accurate data about what lines are handling a high amount of travelers but with the new system we will know the routes that are more busy and we can easily manage the routes by adding the right amount of buses.’’
Munir Duri, CEO of Kifya Financial Technology PLC said that the new ticketing system will create jobs for over 150 people.
“In addition to expanding the service in all regions of the country, the system will create ticketing agent jobs,” he said. Currently over 700 cross regional lines are available in Ethiopia.