Tokens returned at Metro stations after nearly 21 months on Thursday.
Many non-frequent commuters, who were being forced to buy a smartcard for a Metro Railway ride, were pleasantly surprised on Thursday.
“Pawa jachhe naki (are tokens available),” was a common query at the counters.
A token for the shortest trip costs Rs 5. A smartcard costs Rs 120, including a refundable security deposit of Rs 80.
Day 1 of the resumption of tokens did not see a substantial rise in footfall, said Metro officials. But the count will eventually go up because of the re-introduction of tokens, they added.
A passenger uses a token to gain entry to the platform at Belgachhia Metro station. Token turnstiles buzzed back to life after a long gap of 21 months.Amit Datta/My Kolkata
Commuters bought the tokens from the counter or from vending machines installed in the concourse areas of some stations, placed them on the smart gates while entering a platform and while leaving, deposited it inside a slot in the gate.
Metro has a stock of around 2,00,000 tokens. But on the first day, only around 26,000 tokens were sold till 6pm, said an official.
“The total passenger count was a little over 3.47 lakh today, around 16,000 more than the count on Wednesday.”
The carrier has set up boxes at every station to sanitise the tokens.