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Token machines for Metro

Automatic token vending and smart card recharge machines will be installed at Metro stations soon to relieve passengers of the pain of waiting in long queues.

The service, which Delhi Metro has had for five years, will be introduced in the city by the end of the year, a Metro official said.

Commuters will be able to buy multiple tokens — a maximum of four — at a time.

The touch-screen token machines will display a map of the Metro route, where customers can select a destination station, said an official on Monday.

“The machine will display the fare and the commuter will have to insert the amount in a slot,” said the official. The vending machines will accept coins and banknotes of fixed denominations (Re 1, Rs 2 and Rs 5 coins and banknotes of Rs 10 and Rs 50). Soiled and damaged notes and fake money will not be accepted.

To begin with, 20 token vending machines will be installed at six stations. Dum Dum will get six machines, Esplanade five, Rabindra Sadan four, Tollygunge one and Kalighat and Rabindra Sarobar two each.

Five smart card recharge machines will be installed at Dum Dum, Central, Esplanade, Rabindra Sadan and Tollygunge stations, said an official.

The automated machines will be in addition to the existing ticket counters. “We are expecting to start the facility within six months. To start with, the machines will be installed at six stations. Later, all stations will have them,” said a senior Metro official. “Ticket counters across stations often remain shut because of lack of manpower. Once all the machines are operational, passengers will have an additional choice,” the official said.

The smart card recharge machines will accept notes of Rs 100, Rs 500 and Rs 1,000. Commuters will have to choose between two options — recharge or know the balance. Once a card is recharged, a commuter will be able to check the card balance immediately. The machines will also have a print receipt option.

“Commuters will be able to operate the machines without assistance as instructions will be displayed in English, Bengali and Hindi,” the official said. Initially, however, Metro staff will be posted by the machines to help users.

Commuters expressed apprehensions about the new system. “What if a machine stops after I insert a currency note while recharging my smart card? Will I get a refund?” asked Priyangsu Maji, a regular commuter between Kalighat and Esplanade.

Metro officials said they were yet to work on the problem. “We will sort out these issues once the system is implemented,” the official said.

Metro Railway had installed automatic coin vending machines at Dum Dum, Esplanade and Park Street stations a few years ago, where commuters could get coins in exchange of currency notes of Rs 10. The machines developed snags after a few months and were removed.