Metro smartcards not delivering on promise

Prospective passengers who booked cards online a week ago yet to get delivery; BMRCL officials say problem occurred as they ran out of stock, but MiD DAY investigation reveals no shortage of cards at Metro stations

Undeterred by the Bangalore Metro's ongoing tryst with delays, spirited Bangaloreans have been fervently booking their smartcards online anticipating that services may start soon, only to land up in a conflicting situation.

If some haven't received deliveries of their smartcards days after booking them online, others have not been able to apply as the Metro has now 'run out' of smartcards.

As BMRCL has failed to clear the Commissioner of Railway
Safety test, the Metro launch is likely only by Dusshera

Pritam Tomkar, a city-based telecom engineer, and his friends had booked the cards on September 4.

Even after a week, Tomkar has not received the card. "Initially, I was repeatedly told that the card would be delivered to me in two to three days.

Later, when I called the Metro customer care, they said currently there is a shortage of cards and that it will be delivered in the next three to four days," said Tomkar.

According the BMRCL officials, since the launch of the cards on September 3, each station has been selling over 500 cards on a daily basis, while online sales have gone up to 700 daily.

When MiD DAY visited the Metro stations, contrary to the claims of the Metro call centre, it was found that the stations had ample stock of cards available. Besides, the customer care executives had no clue about the undelivered cards.

Online glitch
Soon after the Metro invited smartcard applications on its website earlier this month, several online glitches were revealed.

The website crashed on September 5 and the problem was resolved after 48 hours.

"There were some problems with the website, but it was resolved the very next day," said A Shankar, ticketing in-charge, BMRCL corporate office.

Asked whether this could have affected online bookings, Shankar said, "There is no way we can verify that."
He later assured that the cards would be delivered at the earliest.

After failing to please the Commissioner of Railway Safety, D K Singh, to clear the last inspection hurdle, it is now being estimated that the Metro may be launched only by Dusshera.
After completing the initial inspection, Singh had found certain anomalies in the signalling and software system and asked the Metro authorities to get it audited by an independent security auditor.
This would then have to be submitted to the CRS within a week.

When questioned about this, Singh clarified that the BMRCL needs to first submit certain crucial documents and adhere to the rectifications he has specified.
"They will require around seven days to get the audit report and only after that we will start preparing the final inspection report," said the CRS.

According to sources within the BMRCL, Dusshera is the ideal time that the board would inaugurate the Reach I.

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