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Cashless bus travel project nears launch

Source Name: 
Indian Express
Source Url: 
http://www.indianexpress.com/story-print/708492/

Pune is set to be the first city in the country to experiment with a common mobility card to enable commuters to travel cashless in city buses. The Pune Mahanagar Parivahan Mahamandal Limited (PMPML) is making arrangements for an early launch, but whether the date will be November 14 as announced earlier, will be decided on Wednesday.

The PMPML, in association with the Unit Trust of India (UTI) Bank, is rolling out the plan and a UTI team had recently visited Pune to see how things could be worked out.

As reported in September, the PMPML had made it public that it will introduce the common mobility card in Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad as part of a Central government project. The concept of single ticket for all systems of public transport has been envisaged in the National Urban Transport Policy. The funding will be shared by the Centre under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM).

“We have organised a meeting with UTI officials to finalise how the plan can be launched soon. However, details will be disclosed after the meeting on Wednesday,” PMPML Chairman and Managing Director Dilip Band said.

Under the plan, a commuter would be able to travel on trains and buses using a single card and without buying any ticket once transport operators modernise their fleet to make smart card usage possible. The card is used in many developed countries. The Union government had selected Pune for a pilot run in buses.

Another senior PMPML official said, “The UTI team recently paid a visit to see how things could be worked out for the common mobility card. They collected necessary information. We have started preparations to keep necessary infrastructure in place. Hopefully, very soon, the terms and conditions will be finalised and signed.”

As per the preliminary plan, each card will cost Rs 40 and will be sold at authorised outlets. Card-readers installed in buses will calculate the fare from the boarding to disembarking points. Money will automatically be deducted on swiping the card. Cards will be available at around 50 centres in Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad.

Author: Preeti Aggarwal