The official launch of ‘City on Wheels’ through which passengers can pay the tickets by swiping a smart card was launched on Wednesday.
District Collector Sheik Pareeth handed over the card to Rangadasaprabhu, president, EDRAAC and Hibi Eden MLA handed over the machine to Sadiq, a bus employee.
Nishant Ravindran, chief executive officer, Technovia Info Solutions, Kochi, who is behind the project said 100 private buses were brought into the smart card network. “Before the official launch on Wednesday, we commenced a trial run three weeks ago. It was a huge success as the demand for smart card was high. The stickers displayed on the buses will help create awareness on the facility,” he said.
Hibi Eden MLA said the initiative of the youth was inspiring and that it should be extended to other parts of the state. Nishant said that the applications for smart cards, including the online ones, have crossed the limit. “A few companies involved in the project will distribute the cards sourced from Technovia to their employees,” Nishant said.
District Collector P I Sheik Pareeth lauded Technovia for their perseverance in turning the project into a reality. “Many such projects are wound up midway. But the ‘City on Wheels’ has turned into a reality and such initiatives should be encouraged,” he said. The primary aim of the project is to create a congenial atmosphere for the passengers in the private buses. “Many keep off public transport due to the rude behaviour of bus employees. This endeavour will be a relief to the passengers as they do not have to argue with the operators on handing back the balance amount,” Nishant said.
The swiping machines being used are similar to those in KSRTC buses. It will have a smart card reader and internet facilities. When the passenger swipes the card, the money will be automatically credited to the bank account of the bus owner. Currently, the facility will be available in Vyttila-Vyttila buses and buses heading for Kakkanad, Aluva, Eroor, Tripunithura and Poothotta. Like any other recharge cards, this smart card can be recharged. “When you recharge the card for ` 100, you can travel in any private buses in the city limits for that amount,” Nishant said. The idea for the project ‘City on Wheels’ came up when Technovia Info Solutions, Kochi conducted a survey last year to find out the reasons why people evaded public transport. The major issue was the absence of bus schedules and the reluctance of bus conductors to hand over the balance amount. The project will be extended to Kottayam, Idukki and Pathanamthitta.