Three years after Gozo Channel issued a call for tenders to an e-ticketing system, things finally appear to be moving forward! Gozo Business Chamber (GBC) CEO Daniel Borg told Gadgets when contacted that going digital is clearly the way forward. He said the GBC is told that Gozo Channel should be introducing such a system in the coming months.
Gadgets has long been asking when crossing between Malta and Gozo will become paperless, especially considering that practically all other transportation services have an e-ticketing system.
Borg explained that similar to other options such as the fast ferry operating between Gozo and Malta, both digital and paper ticket options should be offered.
“The fast ferry service has an integrated e-ticketing system that’s linked to the bus system’s ‘Tal-Linja’ app, but paper tickets can also be issued. I think that both possibilities should be offered, given that not everyone is tech-savvy.
“Obviously having an e-ticketing system would considerably reduce waiting time. With time, when people start weighing their options and I believe they will increasingly opt for the e-ticketing system.”
E-ticketing system will lead to better planning & auditing
The GBC CEO went on to say that while there will undoubtedly be instances where trips would have to be cancelled due to weather conditions or ferries developing faults, having an e-ticketing system should lead to better planning and auditing.
As for dedicated trips for commercial vehicles, one could consider the possibility of booking the trip in advance. This in fact formed part of a proposal by the GBC in 2019.
The GBC wrote that “solutions for commercial operators should also be envisaged”. The idea was to possibly include the introduction of a pre-booking system for commercial operators on trips dedicated only to commercial vehicles. This would offer commercial operators the opportunity to better plan their transportation activities between the two islands. The Chamber also noted that more dedicated services for commercial operators may need to be considered.
Gozo Channel is a social service
At the same time, Borg said that this option should however be considered with caution for normal trips.
“In this case we must bear in mind that the service offered by Gozo Channel is essentially a social service. Gozitans travel to Malta due to necessity, often at short notice such as reasons related to hospitalisation or due to their studies. To this end, booking may prove to be problematic for people who would need to travel urgently to Malta.”
Call for tenders for e-ticketing system dates back to 2018
Back in 2018, Gozo Channel had issued a call for tenders for an innovative e-ticketing system, which will allow passengers to buy ferry tickets online or through a mobile app.
Gadgets also sought to contact the Gozo Ministry and the Gozo Channel about the matter, but no replies have yet been received.