Yangyel Lhaden 

City Bus Services (CBS) achieves major success with Nu 2.5 million (M) from ticket sales and Nu 2.7M from smart cards in April alone, surpassing previous annual earning. It earned Nu 3.1M in 2019 and Nu 3.2M in 2020.

CBS attributes this accomplishment to the use of modern technology such as smart card readers, Global Positioning Systems, enhanced bus routes with additional buses, and increased frequency since November 2021.

In 2021, CBS generated an annual revenue of Nu 6.4M from bus ticket sales and an additional Nu 36,000 from smart cards as it ventured into the cashless bus fare payment method. The following year, their total revenue from both bus tickets and smart cards was Nu 41.1M. As of April-end, CBS has earned Nu 17.88M with an upward trend in their revenue generation.

Smart card users are charged a fare of Nu 5, with an additional Nu 1 for each bus stop they travel, while bus ticket holders pay a base fare of Nu 10, along with Nu 1 for every bus stop on their journey.

A CBS official said that despite the rise in revenue generation, substantial expenses for bus maintenance and fuel consumption posed a significant challenge, requiring a considerable portion of the generated revenue.

The CBS operates 59 buses, taking around 8 minutes to reach a bus stop during rush hour and about 13 minutes during lean hours. The bus’s audio system also notify passenger about the arrival of bus stops.

Officials with CBS have been improving bus routes by reviewing bus routes identified by thromde’s geographic information system (GIS). CBS also extended bus operation until 12:30am from October, last year.

The surge in smart card holders has resulted in CBS generating more revenue from smart card transactions than from bus ticket sales in March and April of this year. CBS collected Nu 2.6M and Nu 2.5M from the sale of bus tickets whereas they earned Nu 2.7M from smart cards in March and April respectively.

CBS introduced the issuance of smart cards on November 14, 2021. By the end of that year, a total of 852 smart cards had been issued. The subsequent year witnessed a significant surge in sales, with 10,092 users acquiring smart cards from CBS and this year till May 30, 5,454 more individuals were issued smart cards.

There are four categories of smart cards for four categories namely students, regulars, persons with disabilities, and senior citizens. There are 6,405 student smart card holders and 110, 9,545, and 338 persons with disabilities, regular, and senior citizen smart card holders respectively till May 30. 

Regular city bus commuters said that the introduction of a smart card recharge option on the buses or through banking applications could be more convenient.