If the Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport’s (BEST) experiment goes off without a hitch on one of its routes, this year will mark the elimination of the traditional ticket box and the punching device that a bus conductor is never seen without. A rectangular e-ticketing machine (as BEST calls it) will replace the contraption.
The machine will enable a conductor to type out the destination and instantly print the ticket.
After using the machine at places like Nariman Point, the BEST recently introduced the facility on the bus route from Wadala to Borivli. The service was started on an experimental basis from February 9. The BEST aims to gradually use this device on all routes by the end of the year.
BEST received 500 such machines last month and each of the 25 depots has received its lot of 20 machines.
“We have started the facility on just one route at the moment because we want to know if there are any technical problems in the machine. After that, we will gradually start the facility within this year itself on all other routes,” said NA Walawalkar, public relations officer of the BEST.
This e-ticketing machine not only prints tickets but is also equipped to check the validity of bus passes and renew expired passes inside the bus itself. It will also transmit live data of the number of passengers to the BEST server to improve transparency.
According to Walawalkar, the Wadala route has been selected for the experiment as the route has a high density of passengers, which makes it easy to record the feedback of commuters.
“Commuters will find this system easy and extremely helpful,” Walawalkar said.
“Right now, we are trying out the e-ticketing system to check the validity of the bus passes. The experiment will go on for the next 15 days and will then start on all routes starting from Wadala,” said a BEST official requesting anonymity, as he is not authorised to speak to the media.
In August 2010, after ending the contract with the Kaizan Company that had provided pass validation machines and smart cards that eventually became defunct, the BEST tied up with Trimax Company.
The company will provide these e-ticket machines as well as the new bus passes and a GPS system that will be put up in the buses.
“The contract with Trimax Company is for five years, in which we will gradually implement the new technology,” a BEST official said.