Kolkata, April 23: In a bid to make travelling in buses convenient, state-run Calcutta State Transport Corporation will soon introduce smart card facilities on the lines of Metro Railway.
"We have decided to introduce smart cards in our buses soon on the lines of Metro Railway which will be very useful for passengers. Firstly, it will be for the AC buses. Then we will take a call on introducing it for non-AC ones," CSTC MD Bhishmadeb Dasgupta told.
"Electronic ticketing through smart cards will provide cashless convenience to passengers with prepaid recharge options. Passengers need to swipe the smart card through Electronic Ticket Machines (ETMs) at the time of boarding buses," Dasgupta said.
"Primarily, bus conductors will have hand-held ETMs which they will use to validate the card. Later on we will try to install validators at the front and rear doors of buses for passengers to swipe the cards," he said.
A passenger would be able to verify his smart card holding it close to the ETMs and its validity period, permitted origin and destinations for travel would be automatically displayed on the LCD of the machine, he said adding that ETMs would also have route details.
To avail the smart cards for the CSTC-operated buses, one needs to submit an application form along with a photo for registration.
"The Corporation has plans to offer smart cards free of charge to passengers as a goodwill gesture," Dasgupta said adding these smart cards would be renewed at any convenient point of sale (PoS) located at bus depots in the city.
"Top up will also be available. The card value starts at Rs 500 and are available further in multiple of five," the CSTC official said.
"As these cards are open ended passes, passengers can travel in any bus up to any distance on any day till value is available in it," he said.
A tender for ETM, on which a passenger needs to swipe the card, has already been floated for bidders and depending on the response, the launch date would be planned.
The CSTC would gain from the smart cards for buses, Dasgupta said adding, "Smart cards will help us to find out the flow of passengers at various routes and according to which, we can improve services."
It would also help CSTC to check pilferage and increase its cash revenue, he added.
CSTC was also mulling the option of making it mandatory for commuters to swipe the cards immediately after boarding a bus.