KSRTC readying to launch mobility card for cashless transit

The Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) is gearing up to launch a closed-loop mobility card targeting 50 lakh commuters, to enable cashless travel in buses.

The receipt of funds in advance could earn the agency approximately ₹100 crore (at the rate of a minimum top up of ₹200), which it can use as working capital, said its Chairman and Managing Director Biju Prabhakar.

A closed-loop card, like the one being used by the Hong Kong Metro, will also help ensure security, as the KSRTC itself will manage the system. It also does not need Internet connection, unlike open-loop mobility cards, he added.

Sadiq Ali P.H., who retired as Regional Transport Officer (RTO), Ernakulam, hoped that the value-addition in the form of a contactless, stored-value smart card would attract more youths to public transport. “The card will have more takers if it can be used for commercial transactions as well. On its part, the government could encourage employees at IT parks and government officials to rely on public transport to garner more revenue and decongest roads. The qualifications for middle-level management of the KSRTC too must be refixed to improve the agency’s services,” he added.

National Common Mobility Card

Votaries of public transport have over the years been demanding that the KSRTC and even the Kochi metro adopt open-loop cards like National Common Mobility Card (NCMC) that was introduced by the Urban Affairs Ministry (all metro rail agencies fall under the Ministry). They contended that the NCMC that is popular in most other States must be adopted by the KSRTC as well to improve patronage and revenue. Citing the recent controversies, they also referred to large-scale malpractices in accounting procedures in the agency and how a closed-loop card system could turn porous and also prone to cyber hacking.

There is also concern about the investment that the crisis-ridden KSRTC will have to make for readying infrastructure to roll out the card, unlike the existing NCMC.

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Printable version | May 27, 2022 8:46:39 pm |