A long way to go

A long way to go

Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Ltd (BMRCL) has installed Ticket Vending Machines (TVMs) at Mahatma Gandhi Road, Indiranagar and Byappanahalli Metro Rail Stations but none of these machines are being used by people.

Commuters continue to buy tickets from the counter.

It is the lack of awareness about how to operate the machines that has prevented them from using them.

The BMRCL officials believe that people will begin using these machines once the traffic increases and the Metro Rail is fully connected.

Metrolife interacted with the BMRCL officials and regular Metro Rail users to understand why they haven’t started using the TVMs that not are not only user-friendly but eliminate manual work.

The machines are capable of issuing single journey tickets (tokens) and add value/ add trip to tickets in contact-less smart cards.

Thus passengers need not wait in long queues at ticket counters in these stations. This was the idea of installing these machines.

The machines also accept coins of Rs 5 and Rs 10 and notes. But the machine does not accept all the one rupee coins that are in circulation.

Shankar AS, chief engineer signalling, telecom and automatic fare collection system, (BMRCL) says, “The new one rupee coins match the size of the old 50 paise coins, that were in use and the new two rupee coin resembles the diameter of the old one rupee coins. The machine is designed to accept only certain coins.This could also be one of the reasons why people don’t use TVMs. We have written to the Reserve Bank of India in this regard and asked them to bring uniformity to coin dimensions.”

Shankar further states that the security guards at all Metro Stations have been instructed to direct people to use TVMs in case the queues at the ticket counters are long. “We are trying to reduce the employees. It is impossible to hire people for just this purpose,” he states.

He adds, “There’s a personal touch in walking up to a counter and buying a ticket rather than getting a ticket at the click of a button. People don’t want to miss that personal touch.”

Whether the TVMs are used or not, the BMRCL has to maintain it on a regular basis.

“It’s an additional job to maintain the machine, which has to be cleaned to prevent rusting,” he notes.

Based on the patronage of TVMs, the BMRCL plans to introduce 30 TVMs at all Metro Stations after the connectivity is complete. The BMRCL is also working at getting credit card facility networked with TVMs.

Regular Metro Rail users don’t seem to know that TVMs exist at the stations. While they think operating these machines would save time, they feel it is easier to go to the counter and get a ticket.

Ankita, an auditor, thinks it will take a while before people start using these machines.

“I think Indians are spoilt for choice. We always depend on someone to get things done unlike those in the West who are independent and comfortable with latest technology.”

Dharmendra Shah, a student, is excited at the prospect of using TVMs.

He says, “The traffic is less on the Metro train in Bangalore compared to the one in Delhi. I think TVMs will be used only when the rush increases.” Darshini, a corporate trainer sums up, “The Indian psyche is such that they take a longer time to adapt to change. I think with the passage of time, people will begin using TVMs and get comfortable with them.”

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