BMTC, BMRCL will launch a Common Mobility Card soon

City Travel

This Common Mobility Card or Smart Card can be used at ATMs and also in business outlets.

Bengaluru: Soon, BMTC and BMRCL will together launch a Common Mobility Card (CMC) that can be used for Metro and bus travel and also at shopping malls and restaurants. It can be used like a debit or credit card.

“BMTC and BMRCL are working on a pilot project and will begin testing them soon. This Common Utility Card, or smart card, will make payments easier. It can be used multiple times at multiple places. It does not require people to carry their debit or credit cards separately. These will be open loop cards which can be used anywhere,” BMTC PRO Deepak N informed The Observer.

“All ATMs and places like restaurants, petrol bunks, etc. will be equipped to read these cards. Every transaction will be accountable,” he added.

The card might bring some relief to BMTC conductors.

“It will make things easy for us as we won’t have to return change to passengers. Most of the people who travel in buses do not give us change, so if this card is introduced, the problem will be solved,” said a BMTC conductor who refused to give his name.

Sarika K, a bus commuter, said: “It will help us commuters in various ways. We needn’t stand in long queues to get our monthly passes or tickets. If it can be used everywhere, then the mode of transaction will be a lot easier.”

Vinu Abraham D, an interior designer, said: “Visiting ATMs all the time is time- consuming. ATMs are out of order most of time. The card will make transactions easier and keep us tension-free when we step out.”

But not everybody will find it to use the card. “Older people and small vendors may find it difficult to use,” said Harish C, who works at a finance firm.

Satya Sankaran, an urban mobility expert, welcomed the move. “CMC is a good alternative to having so many cards. Why are BMRCL and BMTC not coming up with next-generation digitalisation which will work with phones? When Uber and Ola are app-based, why not public transport? They shouldn’t invest on cards; it is a 20-year- old technology. They should try to bring CMC in an app which can be used everywhere.”

Sanjeev V Dyamannavar from The Praaja Raag Advocacy Group said: “If these cards are introduced, it will become easy for commuters to keep a track of their expenditure on their commute as the data will be stored in the system which will be accessible to them. Though these cards will benefit people, there will be limitations as well. These limitations should be studied by the implementing agencies.”

In 2017, BMTC announced smart cards for its commuters and tested the same in buses in Majestic and a few other places. They had implemented the smart card system in a few parts of the city, but as it didn’t work.

There are two types of smart cards: Open-loop cards and closed-Loop cards. BMTC first introduced open-loop cards for passengers, but after its failure, it introduced closed-loop cards for students. Around 3.5 lakh students use these cards.

In March 2019, Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched a ‘One Nation One Card’ or National Common Mobility Card (NCMC), which can be used as a common card for transport like bus, Metro, suburban railway. It can be used to pay at retail malls, tolls and parking lots. NCMC will be merged with RuPay, allowing people to even withdraw cash using it. To be implemented on a pilot basis from November 2019, it will be available to everybody in 2020.

aarthi.n@iijnm.org

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