BMTC to launch smart cards on June 17, won't be linked to Metro

BMTC to launch smart cards on June 17, won't be linked to Metro

After several delays and setbacks, BMTC is finally set to roll out its smart cards on a trial basis on June 17, but these won’t be integrated with Namma Metro’s smart cards.

“We have decided to replace the student bus pass with trial cards in the first phase of the project. We will introduce smart cards on a trial basis on select routes before launching the cards on a full scale,” Bengaluru Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) managing director Ekroop Caur said, adding that students will be given time to exchange their paper bus passes for smart cards.

However, these cards can’t be used in Namma Metro, which uses closed-loop technology for its smart cards. A BMTC official explained that BMTC cards were more advanced than the closed-loop technology and there is no bridge between the two.

“Integrating our smart cards with Metro cards is nearly impossible. The only way is to install additional systems in Metro stations which can read our cards,” a BMTC official said. While a common mobility card that can be used to pay for different modes of transport would be an added convenience, there seems to be no movement by the government in this regard. Further, integration of the two modes of transport has suffered a setback with the removal of the heads of Bengaluru Metro Rail Corporation Ltd (BMRCL) and BMTC from each other’s boards.

“BMTC managing director Ekroop Caur was removed from the BMRCL board to make way for a leader close to the chief minister. In an effort to accommodate leaders who have worked for the party, successive governments have removed officials from the board of directors in both corporations,” sources said.

The government has created a system where BMTC and BMRCL are in the dark about each other's work at tackling transport issues, sources said. This is reflected in the lack of space to park BMTC buses in most Metro stations for last mile connectivity. Over a decade after the Union government introduced the National Urban Transportation Policy stressing on integrated transport, agencies on the ground continue to operate in their own bubbles, thanks to political intervention, said sources.
 

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