The GPRS-controlled Electronic Ticket Machines (ETMs) allotted for the Ernakulam KSRTC Depot have become defunct just a few days after it was introduced here in the city.
According to bus conductors who operate the machines, almost 50 per cent of the ETM’s have failed on the connectivity front. “The battery of the ETMs don’t last long. The machines require more back up since it is GPRS-controlled. However, within a few hours, the battery becomes low and we are unable to disperse the tickets to passengers using these machines. We are forced to use the old racks instead,” a conductor said. The Ernakulam depot had received 110 ETM’s.
Last day, a bus conductor who was on duty on an Ernakulam-bound KSRTC bus from Kottayam was forced to disperse tickets using the old racks. “By the time I reached Thalayolaparambu near Vaikom, the machine went dead. I then had to use the old rack to give the tickets. It becomes very difficult. These new machines don’t have the capacity to retain full battery charge,” he said.
Sources said the machines which had cost lakhs to the state-owned Transport Corporation were an utter failure. “ We had been forced to depend on the old manual racks for the past six months since the KSRTC had planned to introduce these new GPRS machines. The old ETM’s had stopped working and the authorities said that they would not be repairing the existing machines. If the KSRTC had repaired the existing ETM’s, many problems could have been avoided. The machines of the new company is far below proper standards,” sources alleged.
However, the KSRTC officials in Thiruvananthapuram maintained that the machines do not have any errors. “Initially there were issues. However, we are not receiving much complaints currently,” Sharaf Mohammed, special officer and Chief Traffic Officer with the KSRTC said.