Since its launch in March last year, more than 2.5 lakh Metro passengers have downloaded an app that allows them to recharge smart cards from their phones.
A bulk of these passengers travel on the north-south Metro corridor between New Garia and Dakshineswar. Passengers on the curtailed East-West corridor, which is now operational between Salt Lake Sector V and Sealdah, account for most of the remaining passengers.
The Joka-Taratala line, a truncated stretch of the Joka-Esplanade corridor, is also technically covered under the ambit of the app but the stretch is yet to take off in terms of passenger volume, said Metro officials.
The percentage of smart card users has also gone up after the pandemic.
“Around 62 per cent Metro passengers on the north-south corridor use smart cards on weekdays,” said a Metro official.
Before the pandemic, around 50 per cent were smart card users. The average weekday passenger count on the north-south Metro was between six and seven lakh then. When services were normalised after the pandemic, the passenger count gradually picked up.
“Now, over 5.5 lakh passengers take the north-south Metro on weekdays,” said the official.
The Metro Ride Kolkata App, developed by Centre for Railway Information System (CRIS), was launched on March 5, 2022. The app is available on Google Play Store.
The carrier is trying to reduce the dependence on tokens.
The app can be used to recharge smart cards on the north-south, East-West and Joka-Taratala corridors. On the East-West line, the app users can also book QR-coded virtual tickets.
In the East-West line, around 50,000 passengers travel on weekdays, he added.
Tokens were suspended when Metro ran a curtailed fleet during the pandemic. That led to a rise in smart card users. “The daily passengers usually buy smart cards. The flying passengers buy tokens. That trend is still there. But gradually, we are trying to reduce the use of tokens,” said a senior official.
For now, only an English version is available. Hindi and Bengali versions are expected soon. “The growth in the number of app users has been very encouraging. We have already planned to make it a tri-lingual app. It is expected that this initiative will make this app more user-friendly and popular,” said Kaushik Mitra, chief public relations officer of Metro Railway.
Students of The Heritage School get creative
Students of The Heritage School paint a pillar on the school premises. They are using the pillars and parts of the school building to paint during a two-week activity period that began after the final exams were over last month. “It is nice to see 10 children working on one pillar together. Some are good at it some not so. But it is the teamwork that matters. They are not judging each other but working with each other,” said principal Seema Sapru. The students will also make posters that will be put up in the classrooms and used as reference during teaching.