Inside the Customer Care Centre at the Barakhamba Road station on Thursday, three Delhi Metro staffers stand watching the milieu outside the transparent cabin.
Delhi Metro Managing Director Mangu Singh presses a smartcard that was recharged online onto the newly installed ‘Card Recharger’– a machine that will perhaps make these men’s jobs redundant in a matter of time.
A new initiative launched by the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation aims to make services “more and more automated” by allowing passengers to recharge their Metro smart cards through the internet.
“This will decrease the number of actual cash transactions and avoid long queues,” said DMRC Chief Public Relations Officer Anuj Dayal.
“Our intention is to decrease manpower and reduce problems arising from not having exact change.”
Mr. Dayal noted the achievements of Singapore in introducing cashless services and said: “70 per cent of passengers already travel using smart cards and this facility aims to increase that number.”
According to Metro records, roughly 17,000 smart cards are sold every day from the various stations on the network and about one crore cards are in circulation.
The new facility allows commuters to top up their smart cards through credit and debit cards by visiting www.delhimetrorail.come or www.dmrcsmartcard.com which will guide them through a recharge procedure.
Yet, after topping up their cards, commuters will have to physically validate their recharge by using the ‘Cash Recharger or the ‘Ticket Reader cum Add Value Machine’ which has been installed in 13 metro stations–Dilshad Garden, Shahdara, Welcome, Seelampur, Shastri Park, Pragati Maidan, Karkarduma, Nirman Vihar, Laxmi Nagar, Barakhamba, R.K. Ashram Marg, Jhandewalan, Rajendra Place.
“DMRC has taken a very important step of providing more and more services to commuters,” said Mr. Singh, adding commuters can avoid queuing, top up in a leisurely manner and will not incur any extra fee to recharge online. “While ICICI Bank has provided the gateway, all debit and credit cards can be used online. Soon net banking facilities will also be available,” he said.