AC Group Ltd is a Rwandan tech firm providing smart transport solutions that help ease commuter payment in cities . Last May, the firm unveiled new innovations in the “Tap&Go” system that are expected to ease transport for passengers traveling to remotest parts of Rwanda.
The new innovations were among the advancements and solutions that AC group showcased at their booth on the sidelines of the Transform Africa Summit. The New Times Joseph Mudingu had a chart with AC Group technical team about “Tap&Go” and what you should know about it.
New Times: What is Tap&Go
AC Group: Tap&Go is a contactless smart card automated fare collection system used on all public buses in Kigali; you can simply buy the card from any service agent, load it with money and tap it on the card reader at the bus entrance.
New Times: How much does a Tap&Go card cost and where can it be got?
AC Group: The Tap&Go card costs 500Rfw and is non-refundable. This charge is collected by us to cover administrative fees for the cost of the card and using the system. When you purchase a Tap&Go card, you can load value depending on the trip you want to take. Tap&Go agents are located in every bus park and commuters can also load their cards using MTN Mobile Money by dialing *182*2*5#.
New Times: What are the benefits of using Tap&Go?
AC Group: Tap&Go allows users to pay for their travel using an electronic fare card that replaces the need to use cash, tickets, tokens or passes on public transit.
The benefits of being a Tap&Go card holder are many for example your card balance is protected in case you lose your card. If your card is ever lost or stolen, the money can be transferred to a replacement new card. You can't do that with any other form of transit payment.
Another advantage is that you can have money automatically loaded to your card when your balance falls below the minimum amount that you set and besides, you can use your Tap&Go card across all bus companies in the city and upcountry.
With electronic payments, bus operators also receive all their money and having an electronic print of sales also enables them to have access credit facilities that grow their businesses. This in turn also promotes public transport.
Tap&Go also collects data that is used in decision making. The current study (public transport 2.0) being done by the Government hinges a lot on the data that has been collected over the last four years by Tap&Go and all this is to better the commuter experience, reduce delays and create a world-class transport system and this is all possible and easier when you have data.
The New Times: Does Tap&Go have an Application?
AC Group: Soon, the official Tap&Go Application will be released in August 2019. Find out more on our AC Group website.
The New Times: What does the Alpha numeric numbers on the Tap&Go Card Mean?
AC Group: The last eight numbers and letters on the card are unique identifiers of your Tap&Go card. However, the last eight alpha-numeric are used as the unique identifiers. You are required to keep your card number with you in case the card is lost or stolen, to be able to restore the balance on the new card.
In addition, Tap&Go and our Transit Agency partners are not liable for any damaged, defective or expired cards.
The New Times: In case a card stops working, how do I get a replacement?
AC Group: You can get a replacement Tap&Go card and transfer your balance from the old card to your new card. First, you need to purchase a new card from the nearest Tap&Go Agent and you are ready to transfer the balance from your old card to your new card.
The New Times: What is the minimum and maximum amount of money I can Top up on my Tap&Go card ?
AC Group: The Minimum Amount to top up on the Tap&Go card is 100Frw whereas the daily transaction Limit is 40,000Frw and the maximum account balance a card can hold is Rwf 50,000 whereas the minimum account balance can go as far as 0Frw
The New Times: How does one load his card using MTN Mobile Money?
AC Group: If you are an MTN customer dial *182# to get started and go to PayBill then select MomoPay. After you chose Select Top Up/Card Balance and enter amount then enter Card number (Last eight digits) then enter PIN Number to confirm. It is that simple
The New Times: How long does it take for the loaded money to get to my card?
AC Group: We advise loading your Card via mobile money preferably 6 hours before your journey to avoid any interruptions. Interruptions could be, internet connectivity or false commands.
The New Times: People out there are confused about the loading procedure for Tap and Go. Can you elaborate in detail why it sometimes takes 24 hours for online transactions (i.e. Mobile Money) to get to a Tap&Go card?
AC Group: Actually it doesn’t. Transaction times depend on how you choose to load your card and where you travel. If you load through a Tap&Go physical Agent your load is done instantly in 2 seconds.
However, mobile money channels are able to load the transaction to your card in 6 hours. After that, online transactions are processed through the Tap&Go system right away; however, your Tap&Go card must be tapped on a device to complete the transaction.
It so happens that Tap&Go sends your transaction out to all 500 devices across the network so that no matter which device you tap, the transaction will be loaded to your card. Some devices are connected directly to the Tap&Go network, others connect at various times throughout the day and some buses only connect once a day depending on their location.
Again for customers traveling by bus on less or no connection areas, they will need to wait until the next morning for their funds to be available. The load time depends on the device you are tapping on and when it was last connected to the Tap&Go system.
Your maximum wait time is 12 hours.
The New Times: If an agent does not provide a receipt after loading, how does one that confirm loading has been done?
AC Group: In case the agent is unable to provide proof of payment, kindly dial *182*2*5# and go to the check balance menu.