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One ticket for all: CM Devendra Fadnavis writes to railway minister over payments row

With the integrated ticketing system, more than one crore commuters can access all of the city’s public transport modes — suburban trains, metro, monorail, buses, autorickshaws and taxis — using a single card or mobile app

mumbai Updated: Aug 18, 2018 16:02 IST
Kailash Korde
Kailash Korde
Hindustan Times
Integrated ticket system,Mumbai,Mumbai public transport
Devendra Fadnavis (Praful Gangurde)

The state government’s plan to launch a one-ticket system for all public transport modes in the city by the end of December has hit a stumbling block, as state authorities and railways were unable to agree on how commuters will pay for tickets.

With the integrated ticketing system, more than one crore commuters can access all of the city’s public transport modes — suburban trains, metro, monorail, buses, autorickshaws and taxis — using a single card or mobile app. While the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA), which is executing the project, has invited tenders, until the railways — used by 75 lakh people a day — agrees on a payments system, the project will remain incomplete.

To resolve this, CM Devendra Fadnavis wrote to the Union railway minister Piyush Goyal, requesting for a meeting. “The CM wrote to the minister in July. He has since spoken to him, and Mr Goyal assured him of a meeting,’’ said a senior official from the state secretariat.

The reason for the deadlock? While the state has finalised a payment mode called account based system, or ABS, in which a user’s account balance is on a server, the railways wants both ABS, and a store value card-based system (SVC).

In this system, the balance is stored on cards issued to the user . The ABS is the more advanced system, as commuters may not even need to carry a card, but simply use their phones to pass through ticketing gates. Railway officials, however, fear loss of revenue if only the ABS system is used, as it may allow a journey without checking if the account has enough balance. On the other hand, SVC cards, like pre-paid cards, will refuse a journey if there is insufficient balance.

A Mumbai Rail Vikas Corporation (MRVC) official said they recommended using both systems as per standards and specifications of the National Common Mobility Card, issued by the Union government for all cities. “We have sent our recommendations to the railway board, which will now take the final decision,” said RS Khurana, chairman and managing director, MRVC.

State government officials, however, pointed out ABS will allow contactless travel. “This is the future of transit ticketing. Even if, by chance, a trip is allowed without checking account balance or authenticating a debit or credit card, the system will have checks and balances in place to ensure the next trip is blocked or the passenger will have to pay for his previous journey,’’ said a bureaucrat working on the project, adding that the system will allow people to buy their journey tickets using credit and debit cards, or any other e wallet.

Currently, each transport mode in Mumbai has its own ticketing system — for suburban trains, commuters can use the ATVM card apart from the physical tickets; RFID, or Radio Frequency Identification cards are used in BEST buses; the Mumbai Metro One also has its own card, while all payments for taxis and autorickshaws need to be done through cash despite the high ridership. Across the world, big metros have single or multiple common mobility cards — London has the Oyster Card, Hong Kong, the Octopus card, Sydney has the Opal card, Toronto has Presto, and Manila has the Beep card

First Published: Aug 18, 2018 00:55 IST