The GO GEORGE Smart Card went live on 15 November 2018, with passengers tapping their cards to board only three days later, after a complimentary period of free travel for cardholders. An estimated 90 percent of daily trips undertaken since Sunday 18 November, were done by Smart Card users.
“We were prepared to troubleshoot several scenarios, since you never know what curve balls come your way when implementing an entirely new system,” says James Robb, GO GEORGE Manager. “Our main aim was to minimise disruption and inconvenience to passengers, and I can say with great relief that the initial glitches were easy to identify and are being addressed, and actually provided a learning curve early on. This is not to say that everything will be plain sailing from now on, but we are confident that the preparation and planning that went into the development of this new automated system is paying off.”
Robb says it was most encouraging to see how fast everybody catches on. “Drivers and passengers alike; they were a bit hesitant at first, but after a first shift or trip, you could literally see the confidence grow. It’s a matter of ‘just do it’!”
Passengers who experience any kind of trouble with their Smart Cards are requested to go to their nearest Smart Card kiosk where the staff will test their cards. If a card is found to be defective, it will be replaced at no cost and the balance of trips on the defective card will be transferred to the new one. If a card has been damaged, the cardholder can buy a new card at the normal cost of R40 and also have the trip balance transferred after verification.
People should take note, however, that most of the initial problems of “cards not registering on the reader” or “showing no trip balance” are human error and not system errors, while everybody is still getting used to new procedures.
“Going to the nearest Smart Card kiosk is still the right action to take, but passengers should not be alarmed at the first sign of something not functioning right the first time. A little adjustment here and there, either in the handling of the card or the sensitivity of the equipment, might be all that’s needed,” Robb says.
For any enquiries about the location of Smart Card mobile vehicles and kiosks or top-up vendors, phone the GO GEORGE Call Centre on 0800 044 044.