New facility that caters to select few

Metro change

New facility that caters to select few

After standing in a long queue at the Metro station for a check in, one places the card at entry machine only to realise that it has insufficient balance! The ordeal of the long queue begins once again as there is usually another long one to get the Metro card recharged, especially at busier stations such as Rajiv Chowk, Noida Sector 16, Jhandewalan and Kashmere Gate to name some.

Answering the prayers of countless passengers who are stuck at card recharge counters Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) recently launched online smart card recharge facility soon after introducing the ticket reader cum add value machine for commuters.

Those who have used the Add Value Machines, are satisfied. “It wasn’t much of a hassle to learn. A security guard who was stationed near the machine at Laxmi Nagar helped out,” says Prerna Arora, a 25-year old content editor. With the online recharge facility, she will be able to, “Recharge the metro card at my ease so it is definitely a step forward.”

But the overlooked issue arises when one has to physically validate the online recharge, by using the Ticket Reader cum Add Value Machines. “If I have to physically touch the card on the machine after recharging it then I am afraid there might be new queues in future before these add value machines.” Which by the way, have been installed at only 13 Metro stations.

“The value add machines are being installed will soon be available at every metro station,” counters a DMRC spokesperson emphasising that the process is on. The new facility enables commuters to top up their smart cards through credit and debit cards by visiting the links: www.delhimetrorail.com or www.dmrcsmartcard.com.

But there is another major section of commuters, i.e the students, who do not think that the new facility is workable because, “Looking at the crowds that travel by Metro at any given point, 13 machines are simply insufficient. Even if they increase the number of machines, it would not be of any benefit to students like me since most of us don’t use cards,” voices Kanika Jain, a student of Ramjas College echoing her peers’ opinion. “We have cash to spend and will still end up at the recharge counter. So, it is not going to make much of a difference to our lives. And we will still get late for our 8 am class whenever we have to get our card topped up.”

While every minute counts for some, there are others who are excluded from this service because they are not fluent with the online payment system, which comprises a major section of commuters travelling by metro.

Be it a homemaker, a small businessman or even a labourer, a major chunk of metro passengers are left out of the new facility.

“For these, the customer care and token machines are available. They can get there cards recharged manually,” says the DMRC spokesperson adding that physically validating the card will be necessary even in future because of the software installation.

Considering the fact that online recharge will become a permanent feature with Metro in future, one wonders how will it solve the problem of winding queues and rising number of commuters, if the newly introduced facilities are not inclusively designed?

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