Smart payment system soon in Qatar’s public transport: Official

Doha: Smart multi-payment options will soon be available across Qatar’s public transport as part of the Integrated Automated Fare Collection and Ticketing System which is expected to be rolled out by the Ministry of Transport in the coming months, according to an official.

In an interview with The Peninsula on the sidelines of the Smart City Expo Doha 2022, Soubhi Chebib, General Manager of GBM Qatar, which has worked with the MoT on the pioneering project, said residents and visitors in Qatar will soon be able to use integrated and contactless payment options such as the Sila Card or bank cards during their commute through the metro, bus, tram, and taxi.

It may be noted that the MoT has launched the Sila project last year to provide commuters the freedom to plan their seamless travels across Qatar according to their own preferences, using real time information.

Soubhi Chebib, General Manager of GBM Qatar

“The Sila app is now up and running and can already be downloaded. The payment system will be available likely by the early second half of the year. This is a project of the Ministry of Transport, where commuters can use integrated multi-payment options. It will also allow you to pay through the QR code, ticket or ticketless, or mobile and account-based payments using your debit or credit cards,” said Chebib. The Sila project’s unified fare collection and ticketing system, which is expected to benefit the residents as well as visitors, especially during the upcoming FIFA World Cup, will also allow public transit users to use a single ticket for all means of land transport in Qatar.

The Sila app, which runs on real time information, will also empower users to make the smartest travel choices through its seamless journey planning feature, said Chebib.

“Sila is an app for everybody, whether a resident or visitor in Qatar. It will also play a major role for the visitors during the World Cup, who will prefer to use public transportation. Sila will help them move from Point A  to Point B, telling them which is the fastest route and for how long. It will also guide the users on the best mode of transport to use, whether they need to take a bus or metro, providing them a map, and all this will be based on real time information,” Chebib added.

Earlier, during his presentation at a panel discussion on ‘Envisioning a future of sustainable and connected mobility in cities’ at the Smart City Expo, Chebib reiterated that Qatar is taking the lead in promoting more sustainable transport systems in the region.

He said plans are also afoot to develop the country’s electric vehicle charging infrastructure, as well as IoT infrastructure to support autonomous self-driving vehicles.
“Public transportation is not only about reducing carbon footprint. It is also providing the capability to address inequality. It is enabling students, or people with lower level of income to move from Point A to Point B, or allowing people with lower level of salaries to reach their jobs at a lower cost. An efficient public transportation is essential for the economic development of a country,” he added.

According to Chebib, GBM Qatar, which has been operating here for over 30 years, will continue to focus on providing digital transformation solutions to various government entities as well as private sector businesses in Qatar. The company is also currently providing AI and VR technology solutions to advance digital transformation in the health and environmental sectors here.

“You always need to be innovative, because there will always be challenges. There are great things which have been achieved. But there are still many things to be done. Many people think digital transformation is the job of the IT department only. In reality, it’s not. Digital transformation has to be infused in the mind of every business leader,” Chebib said.

Source: The Peninsula