The Bangalore Metro’s WhatsApp feature is close to facilitating 3 lakh trips for commuters on the system on a monthly basis, according to Right to Information responses received by The Hindu. 2,96,765 trips were undertaken in March by purchasing a QR code ticket on the WhatsApp chatbot operated by the Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Limited, compared to 2,45,219 trips in February.
From April 1–15, 1,76,061 trips were taken through WhatsApp QR code tickets, on track to breach the 3 lakh point this month.
The feature was launched in November, but its uptake has been limited when compared to the daily ridership of the metro. As of this month, daily ridership stood at almost 5 lakh. Meanwhile, as of February, the number of individual riders who rode the metro by buying a QR code ticket on the app stood at 83,813. (BMRCL declined to provide this number for March and April.)
Smartphone ownership may not be a large barrier to uptake: of 120 metro riders surveyed by Shobha B.G., an Associate Professor currently at CMR University for a study in 2021, 71% described their educational qualification as “Diploma/technical,” and a further 21% described themselves as graduates.
Based on the 5.9 lakh daily ridership number, the Bangalore Metro likely facilitates around 1.5 crore rides a month, meaning only a fraction of rides are currently taking place using WhatsApp QR code tickets. Sources earlier told The Hindu that 60% of trips happen through a reloadable smart card, and that 39.5% of them happen through one-time tokens purchased at stands.