The West Bengal government launched an all-in-one transport card, which will enable commuters to swipe and pay fares on all state-run buses, trams and ferries in the city.
Similar to London’s all-in-one Oyster Card, Kolkata got the ‘West Bengal Transport Card’ for the metropolis’ transport. The transport card is currently on sale at five major bus stations in Kolkata and will soon be available at 20 locations across the city.
Transport Minister, Shubhendu Adhikari informed that the transport card does not include the city’s Metro service, as it is under the central government. However, senior officials said that eventually they would like to get the Metro service as well on board as in London, the Oyster card is used for all public transport, including the Tube.
An app called ‘Patha Disha’ is also being launched, which will help commuters by providing them with real-time information about the location of the bus, availability of seats, availability of buses and the time it will take to reach the destination. To ensure safety of passengers, every bus will be GPS-enabled and equipped with CCTV and a panic button, which can be pressed in the event of an emergency. The app will also help in accident management. In case of a mishap, the police, hospitals, fire stations and other agencies will get an alert, so, prompt assistance can be provided on the spot.
Developed by a private technology company, Ideation, the app is currently available only on Android devices. It tracks 700 state buses currently and will soon widen its coverage to 40,000 private buses, plying in and around Kolkata. “This is part of the state government’s effort to offer a smart and transparent transportation system for commuters,” stated Adhikari.
This initiative is supported by World Bank along with Korea Green Growth Trust Fund.
“As one of the most densely populated cities, Kolkata is a challenge, but, could soon join the ranks of cities like London and Seoul, which use data to deliver better transport,” said R Basu, World Bank.