Thiruvananthapuram police will soon introduce a new smart card-based ticketing and payment system to protect commuters from being overcharged by autorickshaw drivers

The city police will soon introduce a new smart card-based ticketing and payment system to protect commuters from being overcharged by delinquent elements among autorickshaw drivers.

The system will be initially linked to a network of pre-paid counters scheduled to come up across the city. The measure is expected to be beneficial for long-distance travellers, particular women and children, who disembark at railway stations and bus stands at odd hours.

Soon, autorickshaw owners and drivers conducting taxi services will be required to fix these electronic chip-based rewritable memory cards to their vehicles if they are to get permit to operate in the city or renew existing licences.

The electronics wing of the Public Works Department (PWD) is the technology and equipment provider for the project.

The police, working in tandem with the Motor Vehicle and Legal Metrology departments, will embed all the information about the autorickshaw, its owner, and driver in the smart cards. The law enforcement’s pre-paid fare counters will be equipped with devices, which will be able to read the information embedded in the cards remotely.

Keeping a check

For instance, law enforcers will be able to know whether the Legal Metrology department has validated the vehicle’s fare meter and if so when, the moment an autorickshaw checks into a pre-paid counter to take passengers. The police will also be able to know whether the vehicle or its driver has been involved in any traffic or criminal offence.

The police will intimate the passengers the correct meter fare to their stated destination. The new system is also expected to ease queues at pre-paid counters.

Handheld card readers

Handheld remote smart card readers will be issued to traffic enforcers to identify autorickshaws which break traffic rules.

The police say that 32,447 autorickshaws operate in the city though only 4,500 of them have the permit to do so. City Police Commissioner P. Vijayan has recommended to the District Collector to extend city permits to the rest of the vehicles provided they comply with the new system.

He has tasked Assistant Commissioner, Traffic, North, R. Mahesh to conduct a city-wide survey to identify locations, based on a set of criteria, including commuter density, to start more pre-paid counters.