BMTC Pilots Contactless Cards For Ticket Payments; Full Rollout in Bengaluru Soon
Contactless is the way to go, and this has been proved by the recent changes by organisations to allow users to pay for their transactions using NFC or similar technology. Recently DMRC allowed the use of a smartwatch to make contactless payments, and now BMTC is piloting a similar mechanism.
According to a report by ETtech, Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation is developing a smart card loop to purchase bus tickets. It is expected to be similar to the smart card on different metros, except it will be launch in partnership with Axis Bank.
Axis Bank says that it is India’s first open-loop Europay, Mastercard and Visa system, which is why 0.69% of the transaction fees will have to be paid to Axis Bank. This seems like a huge hindrance to people switching from cash to contactless card, especially for bus tickets.
This project has been delayed from September 2015 to June 2016 and now finally in June 2017 BMTC has started the pilot phase. The pilot project is being run on route number 335E, which shuttles between the Kempegowda bus station and Adugodi.
The organisation has already purchased 10,000 ticketing machines for these buses and the feedback from the pilot has also started coming in. The full rollout of this card and these machines will be done by October, with the airport line buses getting the systems installed earlier by August.
Can the Card be a Success?
The intent of BMTC is extremely good and will be beneficial to almost everyone. However, it must be noted that during technological problems and glitches, the whole point of the card will be lost.
For example, Vijay Lakshmi, an employee with a private firm, travelled twice using the smart card. When she travelled for the first time, getting a ticket was a matter of few seconds. But she was not lucky on her next journey .“The electronic ticketing machine showed error when the conductor tapped the smart card on the machine. I had no choice but to pay in cash,“ she said.
In such cases, the card will defeat the purpose of seamless travel and one will have to resort to cash for the ticket. Moreover, with a fee of 0.69% the contactless will be a bigger burden over cash.
However, for those who don’t have an issue paying this nominal fee will be overjoyed to use the card that can print the ticket within seconds. It is going to cut the operational expenses and also make the ticketing service a tad quicker. Moreover, BMTC can also have interactive offers in the beginning for commuters to adopt this card.
Having said that, the biggest downside is that this card cannot be used at Bengaluru metro stations. It does not have the ability to pay for metro rides which are a bummer and it does not make sense for commuters to use two different cards. BMTC says that possibility of them getting clubbed together is not in the pipeline yet.
However, for just bus commuters this is a good news and one can hope for a full rollout on time. The details of the cards and locations to get it will also be made available to the customers soon. Meanwhile, you can register for the card here.