BMTC to join e-economy with smart cards, digital tickets

BMTC to join e-economy with smart cards, digital tickets

The Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) is working to digitise its ticketing system, obviating the need for passengers to carry loose change and cash to ride its buses. 

It will give smart cards along the lines of Namma Metro, besides digital tickets and passes bought through e-wallets like Paytm, to make the transactions easier. 

“Digital ticketing has three major benefits,” BMTC Managing Director V Ponnuraj said, acknowledging that 90% of all ticket transactions in the BMTC happen by cash. “It ensures convenience for commuters, relieves the crew from the pressure of handling a large amount of cash and reduces the workload for the corporation as a whole.” 

Earlier, the BMTC had tied up with Axis Bank to introduce smart cards for tickets that also doubled up as debit cards, but the RBI’s tougher Know-Your-Customer (KYC) rules introduced in October had dampened its popularity. 

Officials believe the new (closed-loop) card available across the counter would lead the BMTC towards 100% digitisation.

With the new digitised system, the conductor would input the passenger’s destination into the electronic ticketing machine and the passenger would have to swipe the smart card on the sensor to deduct the fare. 

The card apart, the BMTC will also launch a pilot sale of tickets and passes through payment wallets like Paytm. The project is likely to be launched in a month’s time, with a Mumbai-based IT solution company developing the digital tickets and passes. 

“The bulk of the work is around integrating financial transaction between wallet apps and digital ticketing systems. We want the purchase of daily tickets and passes to happen with a touch of the (smartphone) screen,” a BMTC official said.

Paperless commute?

Officials also acknowledge that this would be the transport corporation’s major contribution towards saving trees. BMTC sells 45 lakh tickets to bus riders a day, which amounts to 2.6 lakh A4 sheets. Estimates suggest the corporation can save 25 trees a day.

Despite the drop in revenues and the number of riders, BMTC continues to remain the biggest player in the city’s public transportation. The humble buses ferry 45 lakh commuters, which is over ten times more than the numbers carried by Namma Metro. Digitisation will complement several other measures the corporation is taking to encourage the public to use its buses.