HYDERABAD: The provision of using digital payment methods to buy metro tickets at stations has freed passengers of the hassle of carrying loose cash or waiting for the exact change to be returned. However, several passengers have complained that digital transactions have not been consistently permitted in all stations. Officials, reacting to these complaints, said that the provision of digital transactions via QR codes displayed on the exit and entry gates would be rolled out soon. They also went on to claim that the digital payment methods had only been employed only an experimental basis.
Anil Kumar Saini, the Chief Operating Officer of Railway Systems, L&T Metro Rail, said, “Transaction via the PayTM app to buy tokens was started on an experimental basis for three months. We selected Metro Stations like Begumpet and Ameerpet -- that have a high footfall -- to see how well the passengers would react to digital transactions. We have received quite positive feedback and are planning on applying this feature across all the stations in two months’ time.”
Saini further said, “A new system of payment is being currently researched at the L&T labs, wherein a QR code would be developed for the entry and exit gates. Passengers can swipe cards and tokens to directly pay for their ride via a third-party platform, capable of digital transactions. The idea is being developed considering the fact that the regular passengers of HMRL include a young and tech-savvy crowd. Almost 55 per cent of the commuters use cards already. This will save time and effort for the rest of the 45 per cent commuters.”
K Shrikanth Goud, the station controller of Ameerpet station, says, “If this idea is successfully put into action, it will help minimise the queues at the token counters, in addition to facilitating effective crowd management, especially during the peak hours. It will also reduce the burden of the employees at the token counters.”
However, Sasidhar Kocharlakota, a regular metro commuter voices his apprehension. “While this idea sounds very attractive, what happens if a person’s phone crashes or the third-party app’s server is down? During peak hours, such issues will hold up the entire line.” Responding to this, Shrikanth Goud says, “These apprehensions are valid. A maintenance team needs to be ready at the beck and call of metro personnel. We already have a team to look into such issues. However, multiple teams on behalf the app developer or the third-party transaction platform will have to work together to tackle such concerns.”