Travelling across the city in Delhi Metro is likely to get more comfortable if you are a smartphone user. You may not even need to carry a Metro smartcard or buy a token because your phone will have everything you need.
The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) is exploring the possibility of introducing a new system termed near-field communication (NFC), which has the ability to make smartphones act as Metro smartcards. The NFC device in your phone will act as the electronic identity document and keycard.
"We hope to put the system in place soon and reduce the use of physical smartcards within two years before our network expansion under phase 3 is completed. NFC devices are currently at a trial stage," said a senior engineer of the signalling department of DMRC.
The projected average daily metro ridership in 2016 is projected at nearly 40 lakh once phase 3 expansion is over. DMRC is eyeing at a 30 per cent reduction in manual smartphone transactions through this system.
Many new Samsung smartphones, Nokia Lumia phones, Sony's Xperia range, HTC's high-end phones and LG's Optimus range support NFC. Many other smartphone makers too are reportedly keen on introducing the system.
"An antenna chip will be inserted in the smartphone, which will function as a smartcard. The commuter will have to bring the phone close to the automatic fare collection (AFC) gate to gain entry," said Anuj Dayal, chief spokesperson of DMRC. The device will establish radio communication with the AFC gate when touched or in close proximity to the phone.
"The new generation phones will let you recharge the chip. The amount of recharge will be reflected in your monthly phone bills ", he added.
The NFC devices are also being tried as alternative to smartcards in Dubai and Singapore metros, he said.