Moving towards cashless travelling, the Kadamba Transport Corporation Limited will replicate ‘London model’ in the state offering passengers contactless card payments. Under the model, passengers will be able to buy tickets by swiping a RFID card through card readers operated on radio-frequency identification technology.
These card readers will be carried by conductors on select routes.
The corporation will launch the pilot project after the Ganesh festival and run it for two months. Thereafter, tendering process will be started factoring in the feedback from commuters so as to bring about complete cashless travel.
If the initiative succeeds then Goa will become the first state in the country to switch over to smart digital payment system.
Under the pilot project, ten handheld RFID card readers will be used on select interstate and intrastate routes including Panaji-Kolhapur, Panaji-Belagavi, Panaji-Margao, Panaji-Vasco, Panaji-Pernem and Panaji-Valpoi.
Around 18,000 passengers travelling on the intrastate routes using passes will be given RFID cards to travel. But for the passengers, who travel on any selected routes without holding passes, will be offered charge cards with a top-up facility.
There will also be an additional option to buy tickets using debit card with just a single swipe.
The decision on the initiative was taken after a team of senior KTCL officials visited London last year to understand and learn the electronic payment system used in the public transport.
The team found touch-and-go system introduced in London in 2003 to help speed up passage through Tube gates and bus doors. Some 98 per cent of the London bus travellers use cashless mode to buy tickets, while only 2 per cent of the passengers make the use of cash transactions.
“If this project clicks and is implemented thoroughly and throughout then Goa will be the first state in the country to switch over to cashless travelling system. We are starting with the pilot project to educate the people on the use of these cards as having them isn’t enough; people must know how to use them confidently considering security aspects…, KTCL‘s general manager S L Ghate said.
If the pilot project becomes successful then the KTCL will take it forward and will consider installing dashboard-mounted RFID machines on its 500 buses, which will be ‘conductorless’ and will thus save money: passengers will just have to tap the card on the machine and enter the bus.
A firm had approached the KTCL with the proposal of RFID card payment system for travel. Consequently the corporation decided to start the pilot project on ‘no-cost and no-commitment’ basis for a period of two months.
The RFID reader is comprised an antenna, transceiver, processor, power supply and an interface that is connected to a host computer facilitating real-time data on the number of passengers, date, time and location; and the gathered information can be transmitted to the central database.
The other security measure is that conductors will be able to login to route assigned for him, and he will not be able to change or exchange the machines on other routes. However, this can be done only after taking the machines to the central system for configuration.