If the Delhi Metro is becoming driverless, the Capital’s buses are not far behind.
Taking a giant leap in technology, Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) intends to make its buses ‘conductor-less’.
Planned under the second and third phase of its Automated Fare Collection System (AFCS) project, the transport department will install card validator devices on the gates of its buses, which would eliminate the need for conductors.
The DTC has completed phase 1 of the project, under which it had to install Electronic Ticketing Machines (ETMs) in all its buses. Under phase 2, it is supposed to install smart card validators in 200 buses to create a “man-less” fare collection system, as termed in the request for proposal (RFP).
“Once the validators are installed, commissioned and tested in 200 buses for conductor-less fare collections, then we shall proceed to phase 3 where the same will be implemented in the entire fleet of DTC,” said DTC spokesperson, RS Minhas.
The system is widely used in cities such as Paris, Budapest, Berlin, London and Los Angeles.
The move is a natural consequence of introducing the Common Mobility Card, he added. The Common Mobility Card would allow a commuter to board both a Metro and a bus using a Metro smart card.
With this system likely to be implemented by the end of this year, all transactions done through this would become electronic, reducing the use of cash and manpower.
“When a passenger swipes the card while boarding a bus, the fare till the last stop on the route would be automatically deducted. When s/he would de-board at any other stop, the additional amount would be refunded. It would be the passenger’s responsibility to swipe the card while s/he is de-boarding to avoid being charged for the whole route,” he explained. The DTC will also have to re-design the routes on which these buses will operate as the number of stops is likely to be fewer.
However, operating buses without conductors in all its fleet could be difficult as it is prohibited under the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988. “There has to be a beginning. The Delhi government can provide an exemption,” he informed.