<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The first step towards a single travel card for all modes of transport, starting with the lifeline, — the local trains of Mumbai — has been taken. In the first phase, railways will issue smart cards, which can operate in local trains and BEST buses, to at least 49 lakh season pass holders in the city. Around 75 lakh commuters use the Mumbai suburban system daily.This is the second attempt of the government to provide single smart cards for all modes of transport; it was first conceived in 2006 and implemented in 2007 as ‘Go Mumbai’ card. But the scheme was scrapped in 2010.At a November 14 meeting to discuss the modalities of the project, with the World Bank sought the details of the Integrated Transport System from the Mumbai Railway Vikas Corporation (MRVC). “We are also having a series of meeting with the Railway Board as well. If they approve it, we shall call for tenders within two months,” said an MRVC official, on condition of anonymity.The series of meetings are important for the approval of the new form of ticketing that will cover all modes of public transport catering to over 1.25 crore Mumbaikars everyday. These are the people who use local trains, BEST buses, Metro and Monorails and mobile aggregator taxis. Those travelling by suburban trains will be the first to adapt to this new system.On August 2, DNA had reported about the plan. Senior railway officials said that they were looking at linking these Smart Cards with Aadhar card so that all details of the person using it were in place. This will also link these Smart Cards to bank accounts via Aadhar.”We are thinking of levying a refundable security deposit of Rs 50 against each card. There will not be any charge for the card,” said another official.At the same time, authorities also intend to target 10 lakh commuters who form around 15 per cent of the total lot who buy daily tickets. Initially, the ticket checking staff – close to 700 TCs on both Western and Central Railways – will be given hand-held devices to check the validity of smart cards. The checking system will be the same, but unlike checking physical printed season pass now, they will check the validity on the device.If a user wants to use the same card on routes that are not part of the Season passes, then more money needs to be added to the card. This way, not only can a commuter use it to travel on other routes on the suburban system but also use it on Metro rail and BEST buses. At present, there are ATVM smart cards that people use to get a physical copy of railway ticket from machines, while bus conductors inside BEST tap the smart card to check the balance available inside it. On the Metro rail, a passenger is allowed to travel on negative balance the first time, but before starting the next journey, money needs to be added into the card.Meanwhile, in the second phase, card-tapping devices shall be placed at the stations, which will taken almost 8-10 years for it to come. Gradually by then, they will also want daily users to switch over to this Integrated Transport System. “Around the same time, we will begin gating the entrance and exit points at stations,” said the official.This system will be such that people need to tap on the card reading machine at the entrance and move forward. The entry and exit points will be bifurcated for each platform. When a commuter enters the station premises, he simply needs to tap the Smart Card. The gate shall remain open all the while and shall close only if there is insufficient balance in the card or has been wrongly swiped. The railways wants to ensure that every gate that leads to the platform is thoroughly covered and there is single entry and exit points that will be used.TRAVEL SMARTMumbai Rail Vikas Corporation is taking the single card project forward along with MMRDA and BEST.
In the first phase, MRVC will target 65% season pass holders of suburban trains.
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