The National Council on Public Transportation (NCOPT) expects that a cashless system for public transport will be in place before the end of next year.
NCOPT President, Godfrey Ferdinand, told St Lucia Times that the current COVID-19 situation has highlighted the importance of such an initiative.
He disclosed that the council is in discussion with a local bank and a vendor.
Ferdinand was confident that an agreement would be signed and a pilot project could be launched within the period of the next four months.
“We are strongly pursuing it,” the NCOPT official told St Lucia Times.
He explained that in addition to helping to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 by reducing contact between bus operators and commuters, a cashless system would also contribute to a decrease in crime.
“We know for a fact based on other jurisdictions that the cashless system limits criminal activity in terms of robberies on buses or passengers,” Ferdinand asserted.
He explained that a bus operator will not need to carry money.
Nevertheless, he disclosed that not everyone is on board.
“In any new initiative what we must do is sell the idea and the advantages to the operators, but generally I would say that the majority of operators that have persons driving for them support the idea,” Ferdinand stated.
He explained that under the proposed cashless system, an individual can buy a card and have it topped up for either a day, week, month or year pass.
Ferdinand said the commuter can use the card to ‘tap in’ when boarding a bus and the fare will automatically be calculated and sent to the bus owner’s account.