BENGALURU: For the last three months, some Metro travel cards simply refuse entry to commuters to go past the entry gates. The entries in the ‘unreadable card receipt book’ for passengers maintained at the customer care cubicles at Metro stations also keep increasing.
The reason — a technical glitch in one of the new batches of Contactless smart cards is creating a problem when crossing the Automatic Fare Entry gates. The only option for the commuter is to hand over the card to the Metro staff around and buy a new card or a token for an onward journey or just pay the fare if the trip has been completed.
The malfunctioning card is then sent to the Operations Control Centre at Baiyappanahalli to analyse it and rectify the issue.
With the smart card offering a nearly 15 per cent discount on the regular token fare, almost every commuter prefers to have one. BMRCL geared up for the launch of Phase-I by purchasing 2.5 lakh smart cards.
The station controller at one of Metro’s underground stations concedes that the problem of malfunctioning tokens has been on the rise. “This problem happens in the case of those who have purchased new smart cards during the last three months,” he told Express. He was backed by controllers at two other stations. “Of late, we have really begun using the Unreadable Card receipt book.” Displaying one of the new cards from the cubicle, one of the controllers said, “If you examine them, the newer ones are not as firm as the older cards issued.”
More than buying another new card priced at `50, it is the loss of time during peak hours that irks a few commuters. “The card problem has to be explained to the counter staff with many in queue already there to top up their cards. The complaint has to be written down with other details. And a new card has to be purchased after all this,” says Soumya Krishnan, who had to hand over her smart card at Vijayanagar Metro station, when it did not work.
Ramaiah Gowda, a private firm employee, experienced a problem at the Vidhana Soudha Metro station. “The whole process delayed me by 20 minutes,” he said. To avoid any tension when rushing to work, IT professional Karthik Subramanya always keeps two cards in his wallet.
Pradeep Singh Kharola, Managing Director, Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Limited, said, “I have been informed about the issue with a few cards. We have asked the company contracted with manufacturing them to ensure such problems do not crop up in the future cards they supply to us.”
BMRCL Chief Public Relations Officer U A Vasanth Rao said that lack of proper preservation of the card by some commuters was the main reason why cards were getting damaged. “It is sent to our operations team, which will figure out the reason for the issue. In case it is a manufacturing fault, we will replace the card for the commuter,” he said. The balance amount in the old card will be transferred to the new one, Rao added.