After the smart card scheme resulted in losses, the Brihanmumbai Electricity Supply and Transport (BEST) undertaking now plans to introduce integrated photo identity electronic bus pass.
The authorities are in the process of designing an integrated travel pass, which will also have the holder’s photograph. The expect the design to be ready by December.
“We want to create a common card, which can be on the bus, Metro or Monorail,” said O P Gupta, general manager, BEST.
“These new passes are being planned keeping in mind the Central government’s common mobility card which can be used across the country,” he added.
The BEST received a note from the Central government about the Common Mobility Card last week.
The common mobility card, called the One India Card, will first be introduced in Delhi on a pilot basis before the Commonwealth Games.
To procure the integrated travel pass it would be the size of a credit card commuters would have to submit their photographs along with filled forms to the BEST.
On August 1, the BEST stopped issuing monthly and quarterly smart cards because it claims that more than 60 per cent of the card readers were non-functional.
The undertaking will now only renew the existing smart cards. BEST committee members, however, are opposed to adminsitration’s decision to stop issuing these cards.
“The administration should have given at least a 15 day warning that no new cards would be issued. There are nearly five lakh passengers using smart cards who will be affected,” said Sunil Ganacharya, BEST committee member.
But the administration is worried about the revenue loss caused by the malfunctioning card readers.
“More than 60 per cent of the 4,500 card readers are defunct, resulting in losses of around Rs 10 lakh a month,” added Gupta.
However, Kaizen Automation, which is running the smart card service, claimed the cards readers have been “working fine for the last three years”.
“We have supplied more than 6,000 handheld terminals (card readers) to BEST, which has a fleet of 4,700. Till date, around 1,100 have been sent to us for repairs and we will fix and return them in due course,” said Paresh Singh, managing director, Kaizan Automation. The committee members want the administration to levy a fine on the firm.
“Instead of terminating the 10-year contract, the firm should be fined. Commuters will be inconvenienced because of its shortcomings,” said BEST member Ravi Raja.