By Swapnil Rawal www.indianexpress.com
The operators of the Versova-Andheri-Ghatkopar (VAG) Metro rail corridor have finalised the ticketing facilities to be provided on the city’s first corridor.
Mumbai Metro One Pvt Ltd (MMOPL), the special purpose vehicle created for the execution of the corridor, has roped in Indra, a premier IT company from Spain, for implementing access control and ticketing for the 11.4-km corridor.
According to MMOPL, the facility will be “sophisticated” and a first of its kind in Mumbai. “The fare collection system that we have planned for the corridor is a sophisticated and flexible one. Various types of tickets will be made available for the convenience of the commuters. The options range from tokens to contact-less smart card to single and return journey tickets,” said K P Maheshwari, director, MMOPL.
Maheshwari added that the 12 stations of the corridor will be equipped with a system based on contact-less technology. “It’s going to be a closed-loop facility for entry or exit into the stations as access will be granted only by validating the ticket to the validation machine. These cards and tickets have an integrated radio frequency chip that will work within centimetres, allowing it to be contact-less,” Maheshwari explained.
MMOPL officials said the ticketing system is so sophisticated that it will provide information and statistics about use of the Metro in order to optimise resources and improve service.
Apart from contact-less smart cards, the agency will also provide tokens or electronic coins which are single use radio frequency chips. These tokens will be recovered once the passenger exits the stations so that they can be used again in order to reduce ticket issuing costs. Besides the access control, validation and ticket issuing, Indra’s scope of work will also include reconfiguring the control centre’s systems where fare collection and the amount of cash inside the machines will be recorded. The agency will also handle equipment-related incidents.
The MMOPL and Indra have also decided to allow the use of debit cards and credit cards for fare payment. “We have planned the use of debit and credit cards, but we are still to decide whether the payment option will be introduced from day one or not. It might be introduced in a phase-wise manner. Apart from that, online payments are also planned,” Maheshwari said.
Apart from the VAG Metro corridor, which Indra bagged for $ 6.04 million (Rs 26.56 crore), the agency is also setting up the access control, validation and ticket issuing for the country’s first Monorail corridor from Chembur to Jacob Circle via Wadala.
The commissioning of the VAG corridor is running behind its deadline and is now expected to be ready by the first quarter of 2012.