Mumbai to ‘pilot’ national rail smart card project

With automatic ticket vending machines and smart cards getting popular on the suburban railway lines, the ministry of railways has designed a national railway smart card — Go India card.

The ministry had decided to launch the pilot project along the Mumbai-New Delhi route and Mumbai Central station of Western Railway is one of the six stations on the launch list.

“The pilot project is at the development stage and is proceeding without problems,” said KH Muniyappa, minister of state for railways, in the Parliament on Thursday.

The pan-Indian, pre-paid card, based on London’s template of Oyster card, promises to be the future of railway ticketing. “The new Go India card is a fool-proof national smart card that can be used as cashless ticket on all trains of any type across the country, including city’s suburban trains,” an official said.

It is a reformed avatar of the cashless ticket card Go Mumbai that was in use on buses and trains till recently. But the scheme was discontinued in December 2010, due to technical glitches.

The Go India card would be a seamless card used for unreserved tickets/suburban tickets, booking of reservation tickets on all kinds of trains and even retiring and cloak rooms. A public sector bank has been shortlisted for its financial transactions.

At present, the smart card used on suburban railways is a pre-paid card, but is used for issuing physical tickets from automated vending machines.

“No physical ticket will be issued and the fare will be deducted from the pre-paid card (e-purse). The passenger will show the smart card at the exit validator, which shall debit the exact fare and transmit the details through the ticketing server. Ticket checkers and train ticket examiners will be provided with hand-held card readers,” the official added.

Published in: on April 28, 2012 at 7:08 am  Leave a Comment  
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Innovative move to promote use of Ticket vending machines.

While most of their colleagues head home after work or enjoy lunch hour with their group of friends, there is a 100-odd bunch of Central Railways (CR) men who have been doing a certain kind of overtime that has not only helped reduce serpentine ticket queues but, surprisingly, also helped curb vandalism at automatic vending ticket machines (ATVMs).

Like 34-year-old Santosh Kambli, a railway luggage clerk (Grade C) who voluntarily dons the garb of a facilitator at Ulhasnagar station. Kambli said he does not work for the additional money— Rs 5 additional value that one gets per every Rs 100 card—but to give back something to the railways. He said the need for commuters to understand how easily and quickly smart cards work pushes him to put in two-three hours before or after duty everyday.

His method is simple: Wait at ATVMs and approach people in queues. They are apprehensive at first, but ease up after seeing their identity cards.

“I even show people who do not know how to use a card; the overall response is positive,” he said. Kambli sold the highest tickets among the 112 facilitators on Sunday (624 tickets; earning Rs 9,670).
Chief commercial manager Z A Siddiqui said of the 269 staffers who applied, 119 were chosen of which 112 are active. For ATVMs, where more than one person applied, the candidate was chosen through a lottery. Siddiqui said in future, CR’s aim is to rope in retired railway staff. “It would be a win-win situation.”

He added there have been no complaints through sms feedback or the complaint books against these facilitators. “We monitor the day-to-day work done by the facilitators. Also, if a smart card holder wants to use the ATVM, he is given priority,” he said. In 2009-10, CR sold around 15,000 ATVM cards per month. The number has grown to more than 18,000 per month this fiscal. Also, till December this year CR has sold 1.62 lakh ATVM cards as opposed to 1.80 lakhs last year.

CR found that fewer machines are being damaged. “Out of the 175 on the suburban line, 163 were functional yesterday.”

Published in: on February 12, 2011 at 2:51 pm  Leave a Comment  
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