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Digital wallet to buy bus ticket in Bengaluru

In a step towards keeping up with the times, the City’s bus transport is opening up to receiving payments through digital wallets.

Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) is working on a plan to replace its 10,000 electronic ticketing machines with an Android-based ticketing system that will allow commuters to buy tickets through digital wallets. To begin with, the system is being tried out in 200 buses.

“Our conductors have started using the new devices in 200 buses. We will scale it up after rectifying the glitches,” V Ponnuraj, BMTC’s managing director

The idea, Ponnuraj said, is to provide payment options for commuters, who can now buy a ticket only by paying cash. There are no plans to allow ticket purchases through debit cards due to several technical challenges and RBI guidelines.

Under the Android-based system, BMTC will accept payments using QR code from passengers who have digital wallets in their smartphones.

“The ticketing machine, Ingenico, can also validate bus passes, including student passes. We have already trained our conductors and are confident of its success,” a senior BMTC official said.

The corporation issued over 2.5 lakh smart passes to students recently.

The electronic ticketing machines currently in use were provided by Trimax IT Infrastructure Services in 2014 when the BMTC adopted technology under the Intelligent Transport System (ITS) project. The BMTC, however, believes the ticketing machines are outdated as they neither read QR codes nor validate passes.

In the recent past, the BMTC introduced two new options for people to buy tickets using digital cash. While the Axis Bank-partnered open loop smart card has turned out to be a failure due to several technical glitches, the Namma Pass project, which allows passengers to buy a digital bus pass, is receiving poor patronage due to the cumbersome process involved. Currently, BMTC’s daily cash transaction from ticket fare stands at 70 lakh, while only about 1,000 comes from digital transactions every day.

Manjunath CR, a software professional who travels by BMTC buses often, welcomed the new facility. “I have tried the smart card and the Namma Pass. Both were badly implemented,” he said. The corporation should ensure training for conductors, he said. “I have had a bad experience when moving to digital transactions as we end up fighting with the conductors. Even the crew seem to be happy when we pay in cash. Their approach can make the entire project pointless,” he cautioned.

BMTC will accept payments using QR code from passengers with digital wallets in their smartphones

There are no plans to allow ticket purchases through debit cards due to several technical challenges and RBI guidelines.


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