Smart card for smarter travel on the anvil

The Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) will be reviving its smart card project for Metro, Monorail and public buses.

MMRDA commissioner UPS Madan said, “The Union government was working on the National Common Mobility Card called ‘More’ but the initiative is held up. We will now have to restart the process or revive our own smart card system.”

‘More’, being made by UTI Infrastructure Technology and Services Limited (UTIISL), was supposed to be a cashless way to travel in different modes of transport across India.

As part of the initial plans, MMRDA, through Unified Mumbai Metropolitan Transport Authority, was to integrate Kalyan-Dombivli Municipal Transport, Navi Mumbai Municipal Transport, Thane Municipal Transport, Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport Undertaking (BEST), and Western and Central Railways.

However, currently, only Metro (Versova-Andheri-Ghatkopar and Belapur-Pendhar), Monorail and BEST will be part of the plan.

Railways is not included at the moment because “decision-making takes a longer time there as it’s not a state-governed body”, but, the official added, it can be included at a later stage.

The development authority will approach UTIISL for their own card. As the plan is in initial stages, a name for the card is yet to be decided. UTIISL will be the technology aggregator for implementation, a company under the ministry of finance and approved by ministry of urban development.

MMRDA authorities claim that the smart card system in railways can also be included with their plans provided some modification in the software and hardware is carried out. Moreover, the under-construction Metro and Monorail already have ticketing systems as per the specifications to have a smart card.

Earlier, ‘Go Mumbai’ card was introduced for the BEST buses and railways but it had several technical issues and, eventually, had to be scrapped.

Later, WR and CR started their own smart card system, which is popular among commuters.

Common transport ticketing card likely for Mumbai

Part two of the city’s experiment for a common transport ticketing card, on the lines of London’s Oyster Card or Hong Kong’s Octopus card, has just begun. The Indian railways has promised to come to the city’s rescue for this project, after the failure of the ‘Go Mumbai’ card, the city’s much-promised common transport card.

The Railways has already embarked on a project to convert the railway ticketing smart card into a city transport card, to be used on several applications. In Delhi, trials have begun with the Delhi Metro.

The railway card, called the Automatic Ticket Vending Machine (ATVM) card, has been a hit with Mumbai’s seven million commuters, and has been extensively used by new and existing commuters.

“We understand the importance of making smart cards work across different modes of transport. In Mumbai, this requires some upgradation of technology, and the Railway Board is likely to take a decision soon,” said Madhav Pathak, managing director, Centre for Railway Information Systems (CRIS) in New Delhi. CRIS is the national IT arm of the Indian Railways.

“In Delhi, the ATVM system is being introduced with the capability of multiple applications being supported, and CRIS is collaborating with the Delhi Metro Railway Corporation on this,” Pathak added. “More than five percent of the passengers on central railways (CR) already use our smart card. We are identifying novel methods to promote it,” CR chief spokesperson SC Mudgerikar said.