February 23, 2019
State Govt introduces smart card system for ferries
The State Transport Department has introduced smart prepaid cards for ferries sailing on the Hooghly, in and around Kolkata. With this, ferry commuters will no longer have to wait in long queues at the jetty ticket offices, and the system would prevent chaos at the entrance to ferries.
The Automatic Fare Collection and Passenger Control (AFCPC) System, as it is called, was thrown open to the public on February 15 at the Howrah, Shipping and Fairlie Place ghats. Other ghats would follow gradually.
The three have been chosen because of the footfalls at those places, which is 20,000 daily on an average.
Besides making it easier for commuters, the new electronic system would also help prevent leakage of revenue as only those with tickets would be able to board ferries.
The AFCPC System works with both coupons and smart prepaid cards. Around 10,000 machines for scanning coupons and eight for scanning smart cards have been installed at the three ghats together. The machines are in the form of gates, similar to those found in metro stations.
A smart card can be purchased with a minimum amount of Rs 200, of which Rs 50 would count towards the cost of the road. The smart cards are available at 15 counters in Kolkata.
While the smart cards are valid for State buses and trams as well, the coupons are valid only for ferries. The Transport Department is creating the setup for enabling these cards to be used in metro stations too.
Part of the AFCPC System at each ghat is the set of special head-counting cameras which have been installed at the gates (in addition to the CCTV cameras for security), which would prevent overloading of ferries.
The cost of the whole project of Automatic Fare Collection and Passenger Control System is Rs 2.74 crore.
Another initiative being taken by the Transport Department is allowing booking of tickets for State buses through mobile phones. Pre-booking tickets would also save people the hassle of handing over small change to conductors, often in overcrowded buses.
Source: The Statesman