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Integrated smart cards for Mumbai monrail nowhere in sight

The swelling crowds at the stations yesterday once again pointed to the need for a smart card that can be used to avail services of all modes of public transport in the city

Even as the Monorail started carrying passengers for the first time on Sunday, the serpentine queues at the ticket counters reflected the need for a common travel card that can be used in all modes of transport.

Maximum City, with its burgeoning network of transportation systems including local trains, taxis, autos rickshaws, buses and now the Monorail, still has a long way to go in terms of integrating the different modes of transport to make the experience of travelling more seamless and convenient in the city.

The Mumbai Metropolitan Regional Development Authority (MMRDA) has introduced a smart card system for those who intend to use the services on a regular basis and want to avoid the queues. But the cards have not been synced with existing smart cards used in local trains and BEST buses.

“As of now, the cards used for Monorail wont be integrated with those used by railways,” said Ashwini Bhide, joint metropolitan commissioner, a day before the inauguration. This means that people will have to carry separate cards for travelling in different modes of transport.

The monorail smart card can be purchased against a deposit of Rs 100, and an initial payment of Rs 50 for ticket fares. This can then be recharged with any sum between Rs 100 and 1,000. For the past few years, the Maharashtra government and the Centre have been working on different unified smart cards.

In April 2012, the Ministry of Urban Development went forward and created the National Common Mobility Card (NCMC) called ‘More Mumbai,’ for tickets for the Metro rail, Monorail, suburban trains, buses and even auto and taxi fares along with a special provision to swipe it for parking and toll charges. It was a grand failure. The second attempt is still underway.

“The unified card is being worked upon by the Union Ministry,” said a senior government official, on condition of anonymity. The Metro rail is expected to carry 25,000 people per hour per direction (PPHPD), while the Monorail can carry around 12,000 PPHPD.

Travel Smart across the world

London: Oyster Card
Commuters in London need to buy the Oyster card to travel on the tube or the bus. These cards can be bought even at department stores

New York: SmartLink
One needs this single prepaid card to travel by rail, ferry and the bus

Melbourne: Myki
This single multi-purpose card gives access to passengers to travel on trains, trams and buses across Melbourne

Hong Kong: Octopus
This smart card can be used to pay cab fares, travel on buses across the island and even buy groceries

Smart cards in Mumbai

3.5 lakh
Smart cards sold by BEST

70,000
No of commuters who use ATVM cards between Churchgate-Virar

200
No of ATVMs at WR stations

375
No of ATVMs at CR stations

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