| Passengers board a city bus in Bhubaneswar. Telegraph picture
Bhubaneswar, Oct. 6: Come Thursday, city bus rides are going to get smarter.
Your frequent tiff with conductors over chhuta is going to end as bus operators are introducing smart cards from October 10 to celebrate the third anniversary of the launch of the service in the city.
To avail of the cashless travel experience, one has to get the card from the operators.
After a commuter boards a bus, the conductor will swipe it on the machine to charge for the distance the person will travel.
Cardholders will have to recharge their cards every month to continue availing the facility of cashless journey.
“Already the design of the card has been finalised and a Pune-based IT firm has been entrusted with the design job. We hope this facility will help daily passengers the most,” said Sudhanshu Jena, chief executive officer (CEO) of Dream Team Shahara, the private operator that runs the service in Bhubaneswar, Cuttack, Puri and Khurda.
Explaining the facility Jena said that one had to apply for the card applying on a form by paying Rs 5. The commuter will then have to pay Rs 50 to get a bar-coded smart card that can be recharged for amounts starting from Rs 100.
The card will come free for those who will do an initial recharge of Rs 300.
With the diesel rate increasing every month and bus fare getting revised once in a while, the bus operator is not offering any substantial discount to cardholders.
“We will consider offering discount later,” the Dream Team Shahara chief executive officer said.
The bus operator had proposed to introduce smart cards more than a year ago. However, it could not materialise even though passengers had been demanding for it.
Sources said that in August last year the Dream Team Shahara had conducted a pre-project survey to assess the feasibility of the facility.
During that period the Dream Team Shaharahad received more than 700 e-mails from passengers to implement the system. The operator had conducted trial runs to find whether the card was tampered. It was found that the card could be tampered with easily and that delayed its introduction.
The Dream Team Shahara had earlier said that it was waiting for the bus fare to be revised before the smart facility was launched.
The Bhubaneswar-Puri Transport Service Limited (BPTSL) revised the fares last month and the Dream Team Shahara immediately planned to introduce the smart card system.
Daily passengers and commuters welcomed the move to introduce smart cards. It will not only help passengers, but also the bus employees.
“It will help reduce tiff between passengers and conductor over small change,” said Chinmay Rout, a daily passenger. A Dream Team Shahara official said once the conductor swiped the card on the electronic ticketing machine, the exact fare would be deducted from the cardholder’s balance.
While the card is valid for lifetime, the recharge value is valid for one month.
Many passengers urged the operator to introduce smart cards with concessions for senior citizens and physically handicapped persons. They also wanted similar facilities for students.
A Dream Team Shahara official said that everyday over 52,000 people avail the service plying on 17 routes in Bhubaneswar, Cuttack, Khurda and Puri. Out of the passengers who avail of the service, 70 per cent are regular commuters. In the first phase, the operator is going to introduce 5,000 cards.
Swipe & travel
5000 tamperproof smart cards will
be issued in first phase
Electronic ticketing machine will be in use to swipe cards
Minimum price of smart card: Rs 50
Minimum recharge price: Rs 100
Smart card is
free for initial recharge of
Card is valid
Recharge voucher is valid for one month
If card remains unused for one month, user will lose recharge value. Cardholder will have to recharge it again
Card doesn’t come with any substantial concession