BMTC plans smart card for transit in Bengaluru

After the half-baked Intelligent Transport System that is not really helping any commuter, BMTC is now onto Smart Cards—that have been launched even before the pilot.

Bengaluru Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) has started the trial of smart cards in a small scale, after unveiling it in a press conference on June 14, 2016. It will take two months to complete the trial and launch the card in full scale, according to sources from BMTC.

It can be recalled that BMTC Managing Director Ekroop Caur had revealed the plans for this card in an interview with Citizen Matters. There was also a plan to launch Intelligent Transport System (ITS). This was done last month, however there are a lot more buses left out of the ITS net, and the system is far from being effective and helpful for the commuters.

A post-press conference press note from Bengaluru Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) says that Axis Bank has associated with BMTC to launch ‘Axis Bank BMTC Smart card’, an open loop EMV contactless smart card that would make travel by bus, a convenient and hassle free experience for the commuters in Bengaluru. This initiative is in line with the vision of Ministry of Urban Development to address the need for Common Mobility Card, says the note. Edited excerpts from the press note:

The card offers integrated services to the commuters by offering them cashless bus travel; and also offers shopping experience at about 1.2 million merchant outlets across the country, and therefore, no hassle of carrying multiple cards.

Axis Bank has partnered with National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) for this project for developing the transit EMV contactless specification on interoperable open standards. These specifications can be used by any other transit operator (Metro/Cabs/Auto) by incorporating these standards with their existing fare collection systems. This will make it more convenient for the commuters, as it would allow them to use the same card for purchasing tickets/passes & for all other daily purchase transactions.

The Smart Card will be issued and loaded at BMTC issuance counters such as pass counters, and Traffic and Transit Management Centres (TTMC) and various other touch points across Bengaluru For balances below Rs 10,000/-, cards would be issued by capturing the minimum mandatory requirements of the customer in the system. For balances between Rs 10,000/- to Rs 100,000/-, full KYC documentation would be taken.

The commuter can recharge the card at BMTC issuing points, Axis Bank ATMs, Web, via conductors on bus or Axis Bank Merchant terminals, eliminating the process of waiting in long queues to get bus passe.

Ramalinga Reddy, Hon’ble Minister of Transport, Government of Karnataka said, “The aim of technology should be to make life simpler for the citizen. Technology that aids in bringing about transparency and convenience is a welcome step and hence this is an important milestone for BMTC and Axis bank and they should endeavour to make the entire experience simple and hassle free for the commuter”

Ekroop Kaur, MD, BMTC said, “The transit agencies across the globe have been moving away from cash-based fare collection systems to contactless smart card-based systems. Axis Bank BMTC Smart Card is the next step towards building an Intelligent Transport System (ITS) in the city.

“Axis Bank’s technology expertise and banking offerings, have paved the way for making travel in Bangalore more comfortable and transactions seamless. She further added.

Rajiv Anand, Executive Director, Axis Bank said, “In most cases, transit cards are only used to pay transit fares, limiting the customer from using the card seamlessly outside the transit ecosystem. We are very happy to announce India’s first Open loop – single wallet EMV Contactless Transit Card, which allows the customers to utilise the balance for transit as well as retail purchases like shopping and dining.”

“With the launch of Axis Bank BMTC Smart Card, we are confident of simplifying the transit process and offering a seamless payment experience for the commuters with a single card”, he added.

The Key features of the program are:

1.    Instant Issuance of personalized cards:
This would create an infrastructure of instantly issuing the transit cards from the BMTC ticketing offices, Bangalore One centers and other touch points which will make it convenient for a commuter to get the card. The issuance system shall use technology to personalize and top up the cards in real time for the convenience of the commuter. The commuter will receive a completely personalized (with Name and Photograph) Axis Bank BMTC Smart Card across the counter in a matter of minutes.

2.    Convenience of recharge
The commuter can top up the Axis Bank BMTC Smart Card through cash or debit or credit card. Top up/Recharge points will be available at BMTC issuing points, ATMs, Web, via conductors on bus or Axis Bank Merchant terminals.

3.    Ease of use
The Axis Bank BMTC smart card can be used inside the buses for contactless ticket transactions. The commuter has to merely ‘Tap’ on the ETM held by the conductor to ‘Pay’ for his ticket. Alongside, the card also has the capability to hold the BMTC Pass. The commuter can ‘Tap’ on the ETM and validate the pass as well. Both the pass and the e-purse can be used alongside.

The card is interoperable in nature, while customized for use at BMTC. The card can be used at any Rupay enabled merchant terminal in the country for a purchase transaction.

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