BY RAYNALD C RIVERA
DOHA: A glitch in Mowasalat Public Service Vehicle (PSV) card system came as a blessing in disguise for thousands of passengers who got free bus rides from Sunday till yesterday.
“Like other frequent commuters, I am happy that this happened because at least for two days I was able to save on my transport allowance,” said Dilshad, an Indian working in City Centre.
A bus driver on the Al Sadd route said the technical fault occurred around 2pm on Sunday after which all the machines were taken away by the IT department for repair.
A statement by the Mowasalat management yesterday confirmed that the temporary technical problem occurred on Sunday but was “rectified at midday today (Monday)” and that the transport company’s technical team was working to ensure the problem would not recur.
Despite the fault, the company did not halt its services, even providing free bus rides to smart card holders.
“The company’s commitment is to serve the public, hence services have not stopped regardless of the glitch in the system which unfortunately happens,” said Mowasalat management’s statement sent to The Peninsula.
However, commuters who failed to show smartcards to the driver were charged the regular bus fares.
“All commuters were happy about what happened although this could be a big loss to our company considering the thousands of commuters who took free bus ride since yesterday,” said a Mowasalat bus driver on the Matar Qadeem route.
He said all the buses were affected on Sunday, but some plying outside the city were back to normal as of yesterday morning.
Alex, a Filipino commuter who takes a bus at least four times a day, joked wishing that the problem would last for several days.
Since its launch in 2010, comuters have approved of the Karwa smartcard system, compared to the manual ticketing system, because they can save on the fare which is not fixed and varies with the distance travelled.
Apart from increasing the number of their top-up outlets as routes expand and more roads are built, Mowasalat has also improved services, giving more options to commuters like the two new disposable cards valid for one day — the 24 Limited costing QR10 valid for two trips within Doha, and the 24 Unlimited ride-all-you-can anywhere.