Public transport integration on the cards
By John Churu, Gaborone, Botswana
A radical initiative by one of Botswana’s foremost technological inventors, Pule Mmolotsi, is set to transform the face of the Botswana Public transport system for the better according to a blueprint shown to biztechafrica.com.
Mmolotsi is the CEO and founder of Olekard, a company that came up with a plan to introduce prepaid public transport system in Botswana come 25th of July 2012. In an exclusive interview with biztechafrica.com, Mmolotsi said: “the Olekard prepaid card will be given for free to commuters. What the commuters will have to do is to load money on to the card from selected participating vendors or agents, and presto! Off they go.”
In order to complete the system, transport owners will have to install a device in their buses which will communicate with the card in question. According to the inventor, the device is called a UID device or Unique Identification Device.
Stakeholders have bought into the grand idea and already, the big transport players in the country such as Seabelo, which operates a cross-border service, AT&T Transport and Motlogelwa, have all accepted the system. The government is a willing buyer as well according to Mmolotsi. “The government has also endorsed the idea from the regulator standpoint. For example the Department of Safety and the department of youth have all agreed in terms of empowerment,” explained Mmolotsi.
This is in addition to an agreement Olekard has with First National Bank (FNB) who will be the custodians of a pool account. The commuters will credit their terminal with virtual money only.
The idea is also touted as an employment creation venture too, as more than 1000 vendors or agents will be employed. In addition, the inventor has already set his sights across the width and breadth of the continent, in the form of a pan-African project. Mmolotsi said he has benchmarked this unique project on similar initiative in London’s oyster, Hong Kong’s octopus and as well as the neighbours South Africa with the recent Gautrain ticketing system.
“This is just a pilot project in Botswana; the aim is meant for Africa as a whole. We are looking for investors and we expect to raise in excess of USD60 million. We have already engaged an internationally recognised accounting firm KPMG because our main aim is to list on the stock exchange,” said the visibly exuberant Mmolotsi.