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August 22, 2013

Train passengers to pay deposits on e-tickets

The Jakarta Post: http://buff.ly/14F1qjj

To avoid further financial losses, city train operator PT KAI Commuter Jabodetabek (KCJ) will expect passengers to pay a deposit on e-tickets starting Thursday.

KCJ president director Tri Handoyo told reporters on Tuesday that the company had prepared 2,000 new e-ticket cards to replace existing ones.

“Passengers are obliged to deposit Rp 5,000 (46 US cents) in addition to the fare,” he said.

He said, however, that under the new system, passengers could take the cards home and use them again the next day.

“They can directly return them to the ticket booth after passing through the exit or they can keep them if they want to take the train again over a short period of time,” he said.

Tri said cards would become invalid only after they had not been used for seven days since the last trip or if a passenger failed to scan a ticket on the electronic reader at the exit gate.

The new mechanism is different from the current system, which requires passengers to insert the cards into a slot at the exit gate.

The system is being implemented because many passengers using single trip cards had left train stations via illegal exits, including via the train tracks, and did not return the cards.

At least 800,000 cards were kept by passengers after e-ticketing was first introduced in early July, causing the company Rp 4 billion in losses.

Tri said the company had installed drop boxes for passengers to return single trip cards, but the result was not good. “Maybe many people liked our design and wanted to keep the cards,” he said.

He added that the new card had a simple design to make them less attractive as a collectible item.

KCJ commercial director Makmur Syaheran said the company started promoting the new cards early this month.

“We will also have a help desk at every station to help passengers who are confused by the new cards.”

Tri added that security guards would improve their performance to ensure that the implementation of the new card ran smoothly.

A 32-year-old commuter line passenger, Hilma Anggaraini, said she supported the introduction of a deposit.

“I think the implementation [of the new card] will make people more disciplined in returning tickets,” she said.

Hilma, who takes a train two to three times a week, said she often saw people leave the train station through illegal exits when the station was crowded.

The director of the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy (ITDP), Yoga Adiwinarto, said introducing a deposit was one way to minimize ticket losses.

Yoga said the company should also keep reminding passengers to return their cards by installing banners or making announcements at stations.

“If necessary, the KCJ should increase the amount of deposit if the number of lost tickets remains high,” he said.

Yoga said the KCJ also needed to create ways to increase the use of multi-trip cards.

“Introducing disincentives for single-trip card users, such as complicating the refund procedure, and incentives for multi-trip card users like offering discounts will encourage people to use the latter,” he said.

According to Yoga, when people have multi-trip cards for public transportation, including Transjakarta buses, they tend to use them more frequently.

Although 90 percent of train passengers are regular commuters, only 32 percent out of 500,000 people who daily commute by train use multi-trip cards.

KCJ introduced the electronic ticketing system in July, despite controversy over whether the public was ready.

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