Mumbai: BEST conducts trial runs for smart cards in closed-door buses

Commuters will simply have to flash a smart card in front of an e-validator while entering and exiting, and the appropriate amount will be deducted from the card

Soon, you may be able to travel on a bus with a flash of a single card and without having to worry about quarrelling with the conductor for change. That is, if the BEST has its way. The undertaking is testing an RFID card system inside buses, wherein commuters can flash their cards and have the ticket amount deducted automatically.

BEST is testing the e-validators in an AC bus, and hopes the system will be put to use when closed-door buses eventually become a norm in the city. File pic
BEST is testing the e-validators in an AC bus, and hopes the system will be put to use when closed-door buses eventually become a norm in the city. File pic

Such a system is prevalent in many developed nations, where commuters display their prepaid Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID) cards in front of an e-validator installed inside a bus, and the fare is automatically deducted. Over the past few days, BEST has been conducting trials of such a system in an AC bus with an e-validator installed at entry and exit points.

Such a system is prevalent in many developed nations, where commuters display their prepaid Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID) cards in front of an e-validator installed inside a bus, and the fare is automatically deducted
Such a system is prevalent in many developed nations, where commuters display their prepaid Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID) cards in front of an e-validator installed inside a bus, and the fare is automatically deducted

While entering, passengers have to flash their RFID card in front of the e-validator. They have to repeat this while leaving the bus and the appropriate fare will be deducted from the prepaid card for the distance covered. “This is just a trial run,” maintained O P Gupta, GM, BEST Undertaking. Obviously, this system requires that doors of buses be closed.

“In the near future there is a need for all buses to have closed doors. Under the present circumstances, such e-validators won’t work in normal buses,” said a BEST official. Hence, BEST authorities are waiting to see how the much-awaited closed-door trains work in a city whose public transport is densely crowded.

The proposal is a part of the undertaking’s 2015-16 budget, and will include conductors who can issue tickets as usual and guide a commuter with a pass to swipe when he/she enters. The project is unlikely to cost a lot, as ticket checkers already have RFID cards and these devices only need to be physically mounted inside the bus.

This system will, hopefully, undo the hassles of tendering change and problematic e-ticketing machines used by conductors.

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