Metro tokens signal return ticket exit

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By Staff Reporter
  • Published 26.05.11

Metro Railway return tickets will become history once the new token system is in place. With queues common at Metro stations, many passengers now buy return tickets to avoid standing in a line twice.

The authorities have also decided to make use of the tokens time-bound. “A passenger needs to enter the platform within 30 minutes of buying a token and complete the journey within 90 minutes,” said Niraj Kumar, the chief traffic manager of Metro Railway, Calcutta, said on Wednesday.

Once a paper ticket is bought it remains valid for the entire day.

In the new system, all passengers will need to have a token each, unlike in the current system where up to six people can travel on a single paper ticket.

“Technologically, there is no scope of issuing tokens for return journeys or allowing more than one person to travel on a single token,” added Kumar.

“A passenger can buy a maximum of seven tokens at a time. Buying them won’t be time-consuming since a single command by a booking clerk can bring out seven tokens,” added Kumar.

An official of the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation, where tokens were first introduced in India, said return journey tokens are not issued in the capital, too.

Delhi Metro tokens also have to be used within a certain time. “Passengers have to complete their journey within two hours,” added the official.

In Calcutta, tokens and paper tickets will both be available for a month before issuing of the latter is stopped, said S.K. Das, the chief operations manager of Metro Railway. The fares will remain unchanged.

Regular commuters can buy smart cards to travel to any station. Metro will also issue passes for 12 to 80 rides for specific zones. “A passenger has to make a security deposit of Rs 100 for both smart cards and multi-ride passes,” said Kumar.

The authorities have decided to increase the number of booking windows. “Currently we have 153 booking windows. Once the new system is launched fully, there will be 207 booking windows,” Kumar said.

The number of gates will also go up from 212 to 280.

While entering the platform, the gate will open once the token is brought close to the sensor. While coming out of the platform, a passenger will need to drop the token into a slot to open the gate.

“Anyone trying to sneak in without a token will be caught as the flaps will close and an alarm sound,” said Kumar.