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MTC on the road to total electronic ticketing system

Krishna Velupillai

425 buses including 10 air-conditioned ones utilise electronic machines

— PHOTO: S. Thanthoni.

New accessory: An MTC bus conductor using a new electronic ticketing machine on Wednesday.

CHENNAI: Conductors in several city buses have been sporting a new accessory along with their characteristic coin purse. The electronic ticket machines were first introduced in air-conditioned buses last year. Following that, the time-tested, manually torn tickets in the delux buses were also replaced.

A senior official of the Metropolitan Transport Corporation said that plans were in place to introduce them in the Vestibule and Express buses soon. “As of now, 425 buses, including 10 air-conditioned ones, utilise these machines. They machines have been distributed in phases to ensure smooth transition” he said.

A few hiccups

On the field, the response seems good except for a few hiccups. “Sometimes the paper gets stuck,” said a conductor. “I have to remove the cover and fix it if that happens. This takes time. I also end up having to pay from my own pocket if I type in the figure and the ticket does not come out. If they fix this, the system will be fine,” he said.

The conductor does not, however, think the machines would be appropriate in all buses. “If the crowd is too much, the machine becomes cumbersome. The passenger has to buy his ticket immediately. I have to issue the ticket before the next stage of the journey commences, this cannot be done if the bus is packed.” he said.

The machine also saves information on the total number of tickets purchased and gives a break down of collections made on one trip, at the press of a button.

Commuters, in general, seemed happy with the new machines.

K. S. Sekar, a commuter, said: “It reduces the possibility of cheating; both on the part of the conductor and the commuter. The ticket printed by the machine is highly specific. Therefore, is difficult to trick the machine.”

Another commuter R. Jesu said it was also helpful that the fare was rounded off, as it made it difficult for the conductors to retain change, claiming they did not have any. “Also if a person does not really know the cost of a particular journey, the conductor can no longer trick him, as the location and amount are clearly printed on the ticket,” he said. There maybe a catch here, though, as the ticket is entirely in English, a commuter pointed out.

The MTC official said the system was advantageous to both the public and the conductors.

“The response has been good, so we have decided to introduce it in more buses. These measures are part of the overall upgrading of our facilities,” he said.

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