Kochi Metro Rail Limited (KMRL) is facing flak for ticket-vending machines in many stations not working or being very slow during peak hours, often necessitating help from employees manning the stations.
Terming such machines as outdated ones, Ebenser Chullikat, a public transport enthusiast and a representative of Kochi Metro Passengers’ Forum, said that the metro agency must go fully digital, including by doing away with paper tickets. Paper tickets often cause littering of station premises. They also have BPA – a toxic compound, sprayed on them, he said.
Issuing of store-value card would be an alternative, especially so since it does not need KYC documentation and works on RFID technology. It will help if a promotional offer is given, to woo commuters, since the Kochi-1 app is yet to get good rating, he said and sought introduction of National Common Mobility Card which has been accepted by many other metros in India.
Metro sources said they have been promoting usage of multiple options to procure tickets in the system of mass rapid transport. Efforts are being made to do away with paper tickets by year-end, considering that Kerala is a highly digital-literate State, they said.
There are others like Yogi Joseph, a campaigner for pedestrian rights, who said eliminating paper tickets could pose potential problems to elderly commuters and those who cannot afford or prefer to avoid smart phones.
Many commuters have been demanding introduction of tokens which ought to be deposited back at respective stations, as is being done in many metro systems, instead of paper tickets.
Teething troubles in procuring Kochi-1 card and recharging it were till recently cited as among the reasons for daily footfall in the metro not touching the 1-lakh mark. This was because validating the card or app was key to availing of travel discounts.