Kochi: Soon the Kochi-1 card can be used in all private buses running in the city.
As part of developing a single-ticketing system, the Kochi Metro Rail Ltd (KMRL) will extend the prepaid cards, currently used to travel in the Metro, to all the nearly 1000 private buses.
The Axis Bank, which is assisting the KMRL in the initiative, has already procured 500 specially-made ticketing machines for the purpose.
“The trial of ticketing machines held in 15 private buses was largely successful,”said A.P.M. Mohammed Hanish, KMRL managing director. “ We’ll extend usage of the cards across private buses in the city next month. We’re planning various initiatives to popularize the card.
Nizar Karukapadath of My Metro Bus Services, one of the seven companies formed by private bus operators in the city, said they are satisfied over the working of the smartcard reading ticketing machines being experimented in 15 buses in different routes. “We’re told that the Axis Bank will procure another 500 machines by next month and launch of the same will be held by the chief minister before March 31,” he said.
“One of the issues pointed out by the bus crew was the time taken for printing of the tickets. We’ve reduced the same. Another one was the machine getting into off-mode automatically upon a few seconds of inaction to save battery. This too was corrected,” said sources.
The KMRL is aiming at extending the card to all other travel modes too, including the Water Metro targeted to be in operation by this year end. Under single-ticketing, a passenger can travel in various modes of transport using a single ticket.
Meanwhile, with increase in ridership in the Kochi Metro, the Kochi1 cards issued so far crossed the 26,000 mark. “The daily ridership is now in the range of 35,000-45, 000. The income-expenditure difference has come down to Rs 13 lakh from Rs 20 lakh. We expect an increase of minimum 20,000 when the services will be extended to Thykoodam by June,” said a metro official.