Another shot at 'common card' for Mumbai transport
A new attempt is being made to integrate the public transport system with a common card. The Indian Railways wants such a card to be used for all modes of transport, especially in urban cities like Mumbai and Pune. This announcement comes after the first attempt of 'Go Mumbai' card had failed.
Presently, every time a passenger travels, he has to buy different tickets or swipe cards. There are serpentine queues outside railway stations for buying tickets while the railways themselves are not able to put up new concrete modes of ticketing — they recently scrapped the coupon validating machines — while mobile ticketing which started earlier this year, hasn't been successful enough.
Officials said that the railways is keen on developing a body that would be similar to MMRDA (Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority) — which has no correlation to railways — and would be responsible to improve public transport in a city like Mumbai.
When mid-day pointed out that there has been an earlier attempt to introduce a common card called Go Mumbai around eight years ago, which failed miserably, Union Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu said, "We need an integrated transport planning body which can then work on integrating the public transport system that would include suburban rail, BEST buses, Metro and Monorail."
For the same purpose the Centre, state government and the local governing bodies will also join hands to create this 'integrated transport solutions body'.
The best example of difference of views between state and Railways is the implementation of Oval Maidan-Virar elevated corridor. While the Maharashtra government wants the Metro rail, the railways planned an elevated suburban rail along a similar alignment.
Senior railway officials agreed that the initial rail line has been scrapped and a new line of Bandra/Andheri to Virar is being looked into. The railways also want people to give their views about the changes they want. "People can give their views to us by this month," added Prabhu.
Sources said they would also include views of passenger associations, rail consultative committees and general public. The white paper will also consider existing infra and improvements needed in them.