Your Gautrain card will expire every five years, even if you are still using it.
“Like other smart cards, Gautrain cards are prone to wear and tear after a period of use and therefore have a validity end date,” a Gautrain spokesperson told MyBroadband.
“To ensure that the usage data that we gather from the card is not compromised as a result of the card being defective, passengers are required to purchase a new card at 5-year intervals.”
The spokesperson said the first batch of cards hit the five-year expiry mark in December 2017, and had to be replaced.
Cards will also expire three years from the date of last use. If you hit the three-year expiry point first, all remaining value on the card is forfeit. This is in line with the provisions of the Consumer Protection Act.
Asked why the expiry dates are not indicated on the cards, the Gautrain spokesperson said that when they launched, they made the information available through various channels.
These channels included rules displayed at stations, on the website, touchscreens at the stations, the user guide, and the fares and schedule brochures.
“We have since made changes to the Gautrain card to include the expiry date on the card itself.”
For commuters to get the value on their cards back, they may apply for a refund either online or at a Gautrain station.
Website and app improvements
A new Gautrain website and mobile application were launched on 1 February 2018, allowing travellers to manage their cards, trip plans, and refund claims online.
The new site let users register cards, reload funds, buy Gautrain travel passes, purchase bulk cards, view card transaction history, and check card expiry dates.
In addition to the improved website, a pilot project for the use of contactless bank cards was launched.
The programme is testing the viability of using bank cards on the station’s tap-and-go card readers, removing the need for a Gautrain card.
When you tap the reader at your destination, the fare is deducted from your bank account, in much the same way as when making a retail purchase.
The Gautrain’s contactless bank card pilot is only available to commuters who apply to be part of the project.
It warned the system is new, and there is a chance of an error when charging your bank card. Refunds for any overcharge which may occur are promised, however.
Those participating in the project will also be able to use standard Gautrain cards.