If you are a Chalo smart card user, then you don't need to wait for conductors or stand in queue for bus tickets in the near future. The Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport (BEST) Undertaking has decided to equip its entire bus fleet with a ‘tap in’ and ‘tap out’ facilities by the end of 2023. As of now, the BEST operates more than 3,500 buses daily; of these, around 150 are fitted with the 'tap' sensors.
Being the first city bus service in India to introduce such a facility, BEST currently ferries around 34 lakh passengers daily. Of them, over 4 lakh passengers are using smart cards. By the end of 2023, the number of card users will cross 15 lakh, which is around 50 per cent of the present ridership.
“We have more than 100 digital buses as of now, which will become 200 by this month's end. There is a very good response from Mumbaikars for the digital buses as passengers neither need to wait in queues nor bother for change. They can pay digitally by using a Chalo app, smart card or NCMC card,” said the BEST official.
To equip each bus with 'tap' facility, it will cost Rs 30,000 per vehicle, while the Union transport ministry will give Rs 20,000 sum, said one of the senior officials.
Union transport minister Nitin Gadkari assured BEST to give a 70 per cent subsidy for the digitisation of all buses. The process of sending a proposal in this regard has already started.
“After being equipped with this facility, all BEST buses will offer a fully digital experience to passengers, where they can ‘tap in’ and ‘tap out’ themselves as they board and deboard. Mobile app users will be able to see their tickets on the app itself, and card users will get a ticket receipt when they tap out,” explained the official. The newly unveiled AC double-decker and premium electric buses will be fitted with this facility, too.
Speaking about the project, BEST general manager Lokesh Chandra said, “We have already instructed the supplier of buses to make provision for the facility. By the end of 2023, not only all existing buses but also those which are yet to be delivered will have the 'tap' facility.”
The passengers need to tap from the driver's end to ensure that the driver sees it as these buses will be made conductor less. The conductors will be placed at bus stops so that people have the option of buying paper tickets as well. If someone doesn't taps out while exiting from the bus then the maximum amount on that route will get deducted.