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By Wendy John
SIBU, Jan 16: Many people welcome the introduction of an e-ticketing system to purchase and book express boat tickets online.
Transport Minister Datuk Lee Kim Shin had on Tuesday said the system was due for implementation by the second half of this year once approval from the Sarawak Multimedia Board (SMA) is granted.
Lee also said that for the first phase, the e-tickets will cover express boat routes in the central regions of Sibu, Kapit, Song and Kuching.
The initiative, he said, was part of the ministry’s programme to upgrade public services in line with Sarawak’s march towards the digital economy.
When met today, Michael Joseph who is a regular express boat commuter, had nothing but praise for the Transport Ministry for this innovative idea.
“With this e-ticket system, life is make easier for express boat users as they can now buy the ticket online similar to buying air tickets. People no longer have to rush to the ticket counters at the express boat terminal to buy their ticket,” he said.
Michael added, with the system, people going on holiday like any other express boat user, can make their booking online using either their handphones or computers.
“I totally agree with the implementation of this system as buying express boat tickets will never be the same again,” he said.
Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) Sabah student, Dayan Liyana concurred with Michael.
“It’s also convenient for students studying in colleges or universities whether far or near. With a click of the mouse, they can book the boat ticket. Gone will be the days especially during festive seasons where they cannot buy tickets on time at the counter as demand for tickets are very high,” she said.
Sarawak Central Region Hotel Association chairman Johnny Wong is also fully supportive of the system.
As the full details of the system had not been made known to the public, Wong pointed out that some issues might crop up.
“For those in the rural area who do not own any computer or smartphone, how are they going to book the ticket online?” he asked.
“Additionally,when the expressboat travels from Sibu to Kapit and picks up passengers half way such as from Kanowit, are there facilities where they can pay the ticket online in the boat?”
Wong said this type of passenger would definitely have to rely on a ticketing company to help them book the ticket. However the express boat operators should pay the commission to the ticketing company instead of asking the passengers to bear it, he opined.
He also wanted to know whether the ticketing counters at express boat terminals will still be in operation once the e-ticketing system is implemented.
“If these counters are still in operation, then it is good as people will have two ways of getting the tickets. For the convenience of the boat users, the ministry must consider this seriously,” he said. — DayakDaily