After a delay of nearly an year, the Bengaluru Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) is finally set to launch the smart cards to buy tickets with cashless payments.
However, integration of the cards with Namma Metro smart cards is a long way ahead due to technical issues.
“The smart card will be launched in the next few weeks on a trial buses on route 335E (Kempegowda Station to Kadugodi). We will increase the number of cards in the coming weeks and gradually scale up the project to other routes. We want to cover all the buses in the next few months,” BMTC Managing Director Ekroop Caur told DH.
Those travelling from Kempegowda Bus Station to Kadugodi on BMTC’s 335-E buses do not have to quarrel with conductors for change as they can make precise payments with smart cards. Besides recharging the card for the fare, a commuter will have to pay annual fee. The BMTC has fixed Rs 25 as tentative annual fee.
“We have tested the card on 10 electronic ticketing machines (ETMs) and removed all glitches. Ensuring that the card will work in the commercial operations took time. Once the card is cleared in the trials, the project will be expedited,” Ekroop said.
In the coming days many counters will be opened up at Kempegowda Bus Station and TTMCs for providing top-up services.
The BMTC has tied up with Axis Bank to launch the smart cards which will also function as e-wallets. “The card can also be used as e-wallets and for those who have Axis Bank accounts, it performs the functions of a debit card,” she said.
However, the BMTC card cannot be used to make payments at Namma Metro. “The BMTC card is designed as per the specifications of the National Payments Corporation of India and is an open-loop card that can make payments on multiple platforms anywhere in India. Metro has a closed-loop platform which can’t accept any other payment. Integrating both the systems will be a challenge” a senior BMTC official said.
Ekroop, however, said integration will happen though it may take time. “Seamless mobility is possible only with common card. We are holding meetings with BMRCL officials in this regard. Integration will happen within the near future,” she said.
BMTC aims to go cashless
In the coming phase of the smart card project, monthly pass, student pass and senior citizen concession cards will go smart. “Once we are sure that the cards work well with commercial operations, we plan to use the technology for all kinds of passes,” a senior BMTC official said.