Despite the financial crisis and issues over filling high speed diesel for the 6,100-odd fleet, the Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) on Wednesday launched Electronic Ticketing Machines (ETM) connected to an online server through General Packet Radio Service (GPRS) to streamline services.

The 4,000 new generation ETM procured by the KSRTC from a Banaglore-based firm through competitive bidding was launched by Minister for Health and Devaswom V.S. Sivakumar at a function at the central bus station at Thampanoor.

The first 150 ETM had been provided to buses attached to the central bus station here and the existing ones that are over four-and-a-half years old will be replaced in the next two days, KSRTC Chairman and Managing Director K.G. Mohanlal said.

The buses in the other 89 depots across the State will be covered in phases. The GPRS-enabled machines, centrally connected to a server, will provide information such as the distance covered, number of passengers travelling in the bus, number of tickets sold between bus stops, the frequency of the service, and the running time.

With the introduction of the new generation ETMs, real-time data transfer will be made directly to the control room at Transport Bhavan, the KSRTC headquarters. Based on the inputs received, the officers from the unit level to the CMD can take decisions to streamline the services.

The authorities can keep tabs on the collection of each schedule and that of depots across the State on real time basis. In addition, the authorities will be able to get the details of the cancelled services and the bunching of services.

Based on the collection, the schedules can be cancelled or modified if the minimum collection of Rs.1,500 for a trip is not achieved. Further, the bus services can be streamlined by the operations wing.

The machines will be Radio-Frequency Identification-enabled (RFID-enabled) and the Corporation can issue passes compatible with the RFID technology. The ETMs will come in handy when smart cards and a single ticketing system are introduced after monorail and the multimodal system become functional.

An ETM costs Rs.9,500 and the Corporation had procured it at a cost of Rs.3.8 crore from the Plan fund.

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