COSTA RICA NEWS – If Costa Rica’s bankers had their way, more than a million users of public buses in the country, would be using one of their debit or credit cards to pay for the fare.
Bankers the see future of electronic payment with the cards, given the interest of the Ministerio de Obras Públicas y Transportes (MOPT), the Autoridad Reguladora de Servicios Publicos (ARESEP), and the bus operators looking for an improvement in the payment mechanism.
To use a bus in Costa Rica you don’t need bus passes or tokens, the fare is paid in cash directly to the driver.
The fare must be prominently marked.
[/su_pullquote]Speaking for the bankers, Annabelle Ortega, executive director of the Cámara de Bancos, the goal of the banks is to be included and to increase the sue of electronic payment.
Ortega explained that the buses would use a contactless card with a chip instead of the magnetic swipe, where the card only has to be only near the reader, without touching it, and increased fraud prevention.
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Catching a bus
Although buses are required to pick up and let off passengers only at marked stops, some drivers, if the conditions are right, will make a stop anywhere.
If you see a bus coming, just stick out your arm and flail wildly, good chance the driver will stop.
[/su_pullquote]Public transportation in Costa Rica is provided by concession for routes licenses by the MOPT. Fares ares set by the ARESEP and collected, by the drivers of some 4.500 buses nationwide. On some routes, passengers buy a ticket at a wicket, but the majority pay the driver directly on boarding the bus. Only a few bus companies have implemented an electronic fare collection for some sectors, ie. the elderly.
However, the plan for the use of a credit/debit cards issued by the banks is not convincing, like the vice-minister of Transportes, Sebastián Urbina. “We are not opposed to the plan by the banks, but I worry that the “bancarización” sic would restrict access to the service,” said the official.
According to the Cámara de Bancos (Bank Chamber), only half of the population has a credit or debit card.
Meanwhile, Carolina Mora, spokesperson for the ARESEP, the state regulatory body doesn’t see as feasible the use of bank issued cards. Mora added that the ARESEP wants to see a more universal system, one that is unique to the user, is efficient, reasonably prices and generates the data necessary to regulate the bus companies.
Mora added that the previous government had a pilot electronic payment method that was to be used on the Interlinea routes in December however, it is now being scrapped.
Martiza Hernández, president of the Cámara Nacional de Transportes (Canatrans) – National Chamber of Transport, explained that any method that speeds up the payment method will be supported by the bus drivers.
Hernández added that bus companies are interested in improving the payment mechanism for fares and see it as “a step forward for better service.”
Source: La Nacion; Costarica.com; with notations from the Q