Mumbai: Wheels turning on smart card plan
This year might see the introduction of smart cards or integrated tickets for public transport in the city as Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) has begun the process. The planning authority has invited tenders for the integrated ticketing system.
The smart cards will let Mumbaikars travel in different modes of transport like Metro, monorail, suburban trains and BEST buses using just one smart card. File pics
“We have invited tenders to appoint project management consultants for integrated ticketing system project in MMR,” said MMRDA joint project director Dilip Kawatkar. The last date for submission of the bids is February 29.
MMRDA plans to roll out the smart cards by the end of 2016 to help Mumbaikars travel in different modes of transport like Metro, monorail, suburban trains and BEST buses using just one smart card.
Inspired by London’s Oyster card, the planning authority has been working on bringing one single integrated card for all modes of transport for more than two years now. The card is aimed at providing seamless travel through physical and ticketing integration across all public transport modes in MMR.
The Unified Mumbai Metropolitan Transport Authority held a meeting in November to draft a request to invite proposal for project consultant. The company that will be hired as consultant for the project will be responsible for designing the system and executing it. It will also help finalise the vendors.
Why get smart cards?
The city is the largest metropolis in India with a population of 20.5 million in 2005 and it is expected to reach 34 million by 2031. The urban transport network is linear in a North – South direction along the peninsula. Two suburban rail services (Western and Central Railway) are the backbones of MMR’s transport system.
According to the figures, suburban trains make seven million trips and BEST makes another 3.5 million trips a year. Out of these seven million about 1.5 to 2 million use buses to reach the railway station to board a train. The existing transport planning and management structure in the MMR comprises numerous agencies like Western Railway, Central Railway, Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport, Thane Municipal Transport, Navi Mumbai Municipal Transport, Kalyan Dombivali Municipal Transport among others. Also, the state government aims at extending the network of Metro and Monorail to 500 kms in the next 25 years.
“Looking at this massive development plan of the public transport system and the extent to which commuters use various forms of transport, ensuring seamless travel through both physical and ticketing system integration is the best option. The state and MMRDA, through this step, aim at enhancing the share of public transport,” said an MMRDA official.
Number of trips suburban trains make in a year
Number of trips BEST buses make in a year