Delhi govt to begin e-ticketing system for its buses to minimise contact
To this effect, the state transport department on Thursday started a trial run of the contactless ticketing system in a few Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) cluster buses.
The Delhi government will launch an e-ticketing system for its buses to ensure minimal contact between passengers and conductors, in an effort to stem the spread of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) in public transport, state transport minister Kailash Gahlot said on Friday.
To this effect, the state transport department on Thursday started a trial run of the contactless ticketing system in a few Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) cluster buses. The model being trialled involves upgrading the operational ‘One Delhi’ mobile application with an e-ticketing system for purchasing bus tickets either in advance or in buses. The government is also working on expanding the ticket-issuing service to other, privately-run firms.
“Even though we are allowing only 20 passengers per bus, there is a huge demand for buses these days because the Delhi Metro is still not operational. Our aim is to use technology to ensure minimum or zero contact between people inside buses,” Gahlot said.
“We are hopeful of rolling out the contactless ticketing system in a month or two,” a transport department official.
Rajan Girsa, a research associate at the Indraprastha Institute of Information Technology (IIIT), Delhi, who is working on the project, said that in the upgraded app, passengers will have an option to pay either based on the fare or by the destination. DTC and cluster bus fares in Delhi range from ₹5, ₹10, ₹15 and (for AC buses) ₹25.
“One will also have to enter the bus and bus route numbers, which will be available in a drop-box format. In our first trial on Thursday, we faced some teething issues, but it was very promising overall. A few more trials will be conducted in the coming days. Our system is an API (application interface) which can be integrated with any app — for example PayTM, Flipkart, Ola or Uber. To make this fully successful, we will also have to feed in data of every bus number and route in the app, as well as enable maximum GPS tracking of each bus,” Girsa said. At present, all cluster buses have GPS trackers, but a majority of DTC buses do not.
Delhi has a total of 6,487 buses, including DTC and cluster buses.
On Thursday, a field trial was conducted in an air-conditioned DTC bus at the Indraprastha bus depot. It was done on a 30-km route (number 763), plying from Nizamuddin railway station to the Uttam Nagar bus terminal. The next trials will be conducted in DTC buses, Girsa said.
Gahlot has also constituted a special task force to conduct these trials. An order issued by the minister on Thursday stated that the task force, led by deputy commissioner (cluster), has been constituted “for timely coordination and implementation of exploring the options of contactless mobile ticketing inside DTC and cluster buses so that no physical contact between the conductor and commuter takes place due to exchange of cash or ticket”.
The task force has officials from the DTC and the Delhi Integrated Multi-Modal Transport System Limited (DIMTS). It also has researchers from IIIT Delhi and experts from World Resources Institute, India.
Officials in the DTC said they are currently plying over 1,000 buses for public transport across the city, while around 1,600 are deployed for transportation of health workers and to maintain law and order. The cluster is plying another 1,000 buses for public transport.