CMRL plans automatic fare collection system for smartphones
When the city’s dream project, Chennai Metro Rail, is up and running, your smartphone may just serve as a ticket.
Chennai Metro Rail Limited (CMRL) plans to have a system in place whereby smartphone users can flash their mobiles at the Automatic Fare Collection (AFC) gate and walk past it without having the hassle of standing in line at a long queue.
A regular ticketing system too will exist, where users can buy either a single token or a smart card for travel on the metro.
CMRL proposes to execute this system using Near Field Communication (NFC), a technology that allows a phone to communicate with a kiosk at a very short distance, say experts.
“This is similar to the old example of the NFC bluetooth facility. But CMRL may also adopt a slightly different type of NFC technology. This could improve the metro’s patronage, as the number of smartphone users are expected to go up in the near future,” said Bhaskar Ramamurthi, director, IIT Madras, who also specialises in wireless communications.
CMRL officials said they were working on a facility that would be incorporated in smartphones so that the AFC gate could identify it as a ticket and deduct money from the user’s account, depending on the distance he or she was planning to travel.
“State Bank of India, who has been awarded the tender, may set up counters in every station and users can recharge their account there as and when they get exhausted. It works just like a prepaid mobile phone,” said an official at CMRL.
However, this facility may come into place only after the entire 45-km stretch of the Metro Rail is completed and operational which is likely to happen in 2015, added the official.