Using smart cards to pay for rides across various modes of city transport is not only a boon for regular commuters but also for travellers. Without having to worry about currency, sufficient cash or small change, the smart card eases travellers’ woes to a great extent.
Smart cards that can be used across a variety of public transport is becoming popular in places that see a huge turnout of tourists. In London, travellers can use the Oyster Card to travel on bus, Tube, tram, DLR, London Overground, TfL Rail, Emirates Air Line, River Bus services and most National Rail services in London. The Singapore Tourist Pass allows travellers to the island nation to enjoy unlimited travel on its basic bus services, MRT and LRT trains for the valid duration of the card. Hong Kong has gone one step further with its Octopus Card which is a stored-value electronic card that can be used for most public transport, as well as purchases in convenience stores, fast food shops, supermarkets, cake shops, vending machines and more.
According to reports, commuters in Delhi will soon be able to use their Delhi Metro Smart Card for travelling in Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) buses. The system will start functioning as soon as DTC completes the installation of Electronic Ticketing Machines (ETMs) on its buses. The facility will be extended to the cluster buses too. Early this year, Delhi saw the launch of the common mobility card wherein travellers could use the Delhi Metro Smart Card to travel in buses but the facility was available only across a limited number of buses.
If things go according to plan, commuters in Hyderabad too will soon have a common card to pay for their rides across metro rail, bus and auto rickshaws. This will also ease commute by travellers when they visit the city of the Nizams. The State Bank of India (SBI) recently gave a demonstration of the devices that can be used by the transport operators to implement the open-loop National Common Mobility Card (NCMC) across various modes of transport. L&T Metro Rail and the SBI have already signed a contract for NCMC-based smart cards ticketing system in Hyderabad Metro rail. The same card could be used for Telangana State Road Transport Corporation (TSRTC) and other operators.
The Mumbai Metropolitan Regional Development Authority (MMRDA), according to reports, is also planning to introduce a cross-transport (metros, monorail, suburban railway and BEST buses) smart card that can be used at shopping malls, movie theatres, etc.