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Mumbai gets smartcards for local trains and BEST buses

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During my train travels from New Jersey to New York via Subway, I used to always think of how it would be to have a similar ticketing system for journey in crowded Mumbai local trains. The first thing that came to my mind – it was just not possible given the logistics and tracking involved.

For those who are not aware, in US and UK (specifically for Subway trains and Tubes), the traveler has to just go to nearest vending machine before entering the platform, get a pass of standard denominations and swipe it before entering the train platform. Every time one swipes the card, certain amount is deducted toward your journey. No waiting in lines !

Now, to my surprise, even Mumbai seems to be moving towards similar system. The Central Railways (CR) launched “Go Mumbai” smart card – a first-of-a-kind travel card which works like a pre-paid telephone card, and can be used for travel on the local Mumbai trains and BEST buses.

Mumbai TrainsSource

These smart cards will not only be used in trains and Buses, but will be extended to be used for paying toll charges, parking, and traveling by taxis and autos in near future.

The smartcard, similar to London’s Oyster Card, is pre-loaded with credit (in multiples of Rs 50 upto a maximum Rs 2,000). Commuters have to flash the card on a validator at the start and end of the journey.

The system then deducts the appropriate amount of fare for the specific journey.

As many as 434 validators for the smartcard have already been set up at the entry and exit gates of 23 stations. [source]

To ensure that the cards are not misused, Ticket Checkers will be will be equipped with hand-held devices to check the validity and class of travel. If the card is not flashed at the destination station, the maximum possible fare on the transit service providers’ route will be deducted from the card.

I am sure even after all the precautions to stop the misuse, this system could easily be manipulated.

According to the report, the travelers will have to buy these cards from various delivery points at Bus and Train stations.

I would really love to see automated vending machines being set-up at various points, instead having to wait in the que to buy these smart cards.

Will this initiative of Central Railways be successful?

I highly doubt!

  1. Jazz JJ says

    wht is the secret on increasing of RATE on TICKETS?

  2. Manoj Dubey says

    how do you know that I am manoj dubey……i am not signing in through any account neither I have visited this site ever before.

  3. Akash Kalghatgi says

    I hope this'll surely work.
    mumbai local'll be better.

  4. gaurav pawar says

    can i use smart card in eticket

  5. KN says

    Any idea, how much the implementation of the Go-Mumbai system cost?

  6. rahul says

    the web side is good but there is something which is very important and this web side have not mentioned ..the initial price of the smart card,i searched the whole of side but coulnt find the price…

  7. Shabbir Husain says

    I agree with Dev. Success or failure is to early to think of. A good beginning is half the job done. I am simply happy with the fact that such an initiative has been undertaken. Instead of having to manually feed in all the details like destination journey, number of tickets etc… it would be good to have an electronic ticket gate at the entrance of the station and a similar device at the destination station. So when the passengers are about the exit the destination station they swap their smart cards and the appropriate amount deducted. It will be more convenient, user friendly and fraudulent safe. To take a step further, this card could be used to pay bills of all sort – utility, mobile, super market etc…. Micro-payment at its best!

  8. Dev says

    As far the success or failure of this initiative is concerned, I think that its too early for anyone to comment. There have been pretty good initiatives in the past but have failed either because of the poor implementation or the mindset of the people when it comes to adopting something new. I think that we as citizens should show faith and back up such moves. After all, its for our own good.

  9. Arun says

    Ashwin,
    Thank you for the first hand information. I knew BEST buses had it, but I did not know that it had also started for Central Railways.

  10. Ashwin Kini says

    This initiative is already implemented and working successfully for the last few months in Mumbai. Actually it is not as automated system as we find in the USA. As the system there is that we can refill the smart card by self with swipe of credit card and then flashing before entering the subway when it deducts the particular amount each time it is flashed.

    The system in Mumbai goes this way:
    There are Automatic Ticket Vending Machines (ATVM) set across every stations near the ticket counter. The commuters have to flash the Smart Card and select the preferred Destination and the various selections like Adult, Child, Return Journey, No. of Passengers etc… Accordingly it charges and displays the total amount. We have to then select Print after which if prints out a Ticket with the selected information which is valid just as we get from waiting on the queue. There are atleast 2 – 3 such vending machines and more on major stations.

    Similarly on the BEST buses, the commuter has to hand it over to the bus conductor and he uses the reader to deduct from the card. Some commuters get a monthly smart card pass that need not be displayed to the conductor.

    The difference is that earlier they used to be 2 seperate smart cards which the government was planning for a single card for multiple purposes. So may be this is what is got introduced :)

  11. shrinivasan says

    the website is good but sometimes it doesnt open up or hangs off. i think there is room for improvement on that acct.

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