Bengaluru: After smart card passes for students and electric buses, city commuters can now look forward to travelling in AC Vajra buses using a cashless bus pass. Having received a good response to the trial run, the Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) plans to introduce electronic ticketing machines (ETM) at 10 major bus depots in the city for the cashless pass system.
"This is a first step in using a cashless mode of payment for the transport system. All the passengers will have to do is enter their details on a webpage called Namma Pass, upload a selfie and pay for the daily pass online. The selfie will be mandatory to avoid the pass being used multiple times,” a BMTC official told Deccan Chronicle.
On boarding the bus, the passengers will have to show the digital pass ticket on their mobile phones to the conductor, who will then provide an ID number to them. Following this an SMS will be sent to both the conductor’s mobile and the BMTC server . The conductor will then enter the ID number in the ETMs. This cashless mode of payment is expected to help the BMTC save upto 2.6 lakh sheets in paper tickets per day.
While happy with the new system, environmentalists are keen on the authorities going one step forward and introducing a single smart card that will allow commuters to access all modes of public transport in the city . Says Mr Suresh Heblikar, a well known environmentalist, “We welcome this move by the BMTC, but what about the people who do not have mobile phones? It makes more sense therefore to introduce a single smart card or a coin based transport facility for all modes of transport."
He adds persuasively, “One tree can produce 10, 000 A4 sheets, So the BMTC will need 25 trees to print passes. However, if the single smart card is issued, both Metro Rail and BMTC passengers will be able to travel by merely tapping it against a reader apparatus. The government could also earn some advertisement revenue from the cards.”
Going by sources , the BBMP had proposed a single smart card for cashless travel on buses , Metro Rail and a few cab services using a Bengaluru Transport-related Information and Planning System (B-TRIPS) app a while ago. But the BMTC and the Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Ltd (BMRCL) could not see eye to eye on the project and it has remained on paper.