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Treasure that Smart Card – it’s your key to travelling on the bus

Jul '23
A basket of laundry with a GO GEORGE Smart Card sticking out from a shirt pocket.

When GO GEORGE introduced the Smart Card system in 2018, the concept of tapping or scanning a card to board a bus was new to most of the passengers using the bus service. Today, it is second nature, with just under 120 000 cards sold to date.

However, this figure is far more than the number of passengers using the bus service, and can be partly attributed to cards getting damaged and being replaced.

Sensitive technology

A smart card is essentially a plastic card with various technology embedded that allow the card to be “tapped” and read when presented to the different devices (top-up vendor device, kiosk device and on-bus card reader). When the card is in working order, this allows the passenger to see how many trips are left on the card and subtracts one trip from the balance when scanned on the bus.

When the card gets damaged, the different devices will not be able to read the card and it won’t scan at all. This is frustrating and necessitates a visit to one of the GO GEORGE Smart Card Kiosks where a diagnostic test is done to determine the issue. 

Prevent damage to card

There are simple ways to minimise the risk of damage to a smart card. This will not only prevent passengers from being inconvenienced when boarding a bus at the last minute, just to find out their card is not working, but will also cut out the unnecessary cost of buying a new card.

  • Keep the card – along with all other cards – protected in a wallet or cardholder to avoid possible damage from other pocket or purse items.
  • Always keep the card straight and never bend it. 
  • Coming into contact with refrigerator magnets, clasps on wallets, and magnets on the back of tape measures and flashlights can demagnetize a card. 
  • When you place your card in your wallet, be sure not to rub it up against the metal clasp and place it as far away from it as possible.
  • Protect the card from direct heat, open flames, etc.
  • Make sure that it doesn’t land in the laundry with your clothes.
  • Keep in mind that it is made of plastic – anything that damages plastic, can damage the card.
  • In essence, the GO GEORGE Smart Card should be treated like a bank card.

Check expiry date

Like any other smart card and bank card, the GO GEORGE Smart Card is valid for five years. After that, you will need to buy a new card, or use another valid card in your possession which will save you money. Keep an eye on your card’s expiry date and make sure you don’t get caught unawares. The expiry date is printed on the front of the card for ease of reference. Use an alternative card if you have one, or buy your new card at R35.00 from any GO GEORGE Smart Card kiosk. Remaining trips on the expiring card will be transferred to the new card, or whichever existing card you choose to use.

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