Metro gets lucky with smartcards

Sells around 18,000 personalised cards, including 4,000 online, in a fortnight; passengers don't mind shelling out extra bucks to get lucky numbers either

The Bangalore Metro seems to have hit a jackpot with the idea of offering personalised smartcards to customers. Even though the service costs a customer over Rs 200, more and more people are opting for it.

Aware of the people's obsession with lucky numbers be it a car registration number or a mobile phone number the Metro has made a smart move by offering customers an option to personalise the smart card and allowing them to select the last four digits as per their choice.

If one buys the smartcard from the counters at Metro stations, it will cost only Rs 100. But the net savvy Bangloreans seem to be caring little about shelling out some extra bucks for getting personalized cards online

Within weeks of introducing this facility, Metro authorities claim they have sold around 18,000 cards, including 4,000 cards sold online so far.

According to the Metro sources, if one buys the smartcard from the counters at Metro stations, it will cost only Rs 100. But the net savvy denizens of the Silicon Valley seem to be caring little about shelling out some extra bucks for getting personalised cards online.

Number game
"We adopted the idea of personalised smartcard numbers as we found that there was a demand for unique mobile numbers and vehicle numbers.

We tried the same with the Metro smartcards as well. In this facility, we provide a commuter with an option of selecting the last four digits of the card," said Brajendra Kumar, Head (IT and Telecom) at BMRCL.

A Metro smartcard has a unique 11 digit number engraved on it and the commuter just has to tap the card
to enter or exit a station and the fare gets deducted from the card.

"The sales of the cards have been catching up online. People prefer unique numbers such as their year of birth, date of birth and even telephone numbers," added Kumar.

"As 9 and 5 have been my lucky numbers always, I opted for 9905, which is also my bike registration number. I don't mind spending a little extra for getting my favourite numbers," said, C Srinivasan, a city-based content writer.

While customers don't mind shelling out more to get their choice of numbers, authorities warn that once stolen or lost the cards would not be issued again with the same number.

"Since the online smartcards are personalised cards, the online users will have an added facility of being able to block the card, if it gets stolen or lost. This way the misuse of card can be stopped," he said.

Facility with a rider

In case the commuter loses the card, he will not get back the same number.

"These are automatic electronic numbers, which are not repeated. So once lost, the same number will not be available again," he added. The Metro officials expect the sales of cards will go up once the services start.

"The sale of smartcards is bound to increase. In total, we have already sold over 18,000 smartcards and once the Metro operations start in full swing, it will increase more," said B L Y Chavan, BMRCL spokesperson.

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