Metro authorities in India are planning to launch automatic fare collection (AFC) gates that will work with the country’s National Common Mobility Card (NCMC) that was introduced in March by the Ministry of Finance, according to reports on Thursday (Jan. 16).
The NCMC was launched with the tagline of “One Nation One Card” and was intended to be usable at all transit locations. Right now, the smart card lets commuters skip the lines to buy metro tickets. The AFC system — expected to be introduced in April — gives public transportation users the convenience of using just one card to pay for the bus, metro and other transport modes.
“We are installing these new AFC gates in the new metro stations in the Kanakapura Road line. … The BMTC is also moving to build capacity on their side,” IAS officer Ajay Seth, managing director of Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Limited (BMRCL), told the news outlet TNM.
“Gradually all existing metro stations will have the new AFC gates which would work with the single-use tokens, existing smart cards and NCMC cards,” he said.
The new AFC gates will also be installed when the metro starts Phase II operations. Handheld NCMC devices for conductors are also in the works, BMTC officials said.
The bank-issued NCMC card runs on India’s RuPay payments network and works like a regular debit card that can be used at ATMs. It also has a local wallet that can be used for contactless payments. The cards work online and offline and are not limited to public transportation purposes.
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said the NCMC is an “open-loop card,” that can be used for transit, smart cities, tolls and parking as well as for retail.
The NCMC was first test-piloted with Mumbai bus operator BEST in November. Despite the push by the government and stakeholders to go digital, India is still largely a cash-based economy. Some 90 percent of transactions are handled with paper money. There are also as many as 89 non-bank players striving to drive commerce’s digital transformation.