REVOLUTION OF TICKETING SYSTEM IN METRO
Kolkata Metro, India’s first Metro, has three corridors operational at present i.e. Blue Line, Green Line and Purple Line. Another corridor from Kavi Subhash to Hemanta Mukhopadhyay stations (Orange Line) will soon be opened for commercial services. Other Metro routes will also be operational shortly. North-South Metro (Blue Line) was inaugurated on 24th October, 1984.
On the first day, Printed Card Tickets (PCT), printed on paper were issued manually to commuters. This ticketing system continued in Kolkata Metro from 1984 to 1996 for 12 years. These PCTs were quite similar to the tickets used in suburban lines of other Railways.
As time progressed, Metro Railway embraced modern technology and Turnstile Gates were installed at all the Metro stations. Installation of these gates started in 1990 and fully commissioned in 1996. From May, 1996 Magnetic Strip Ticket (MST) was introduced in Kolkata Metro. These Magnetic Strip Tickets (MST) were highly advanced at that time and replaced the Printed Card Tickets (PCT). The Magnetic Strip Tickets (MST) and the Turnstile Gates were made by Dassault, a French company. This automation helped to manage ever increasing footfalls in the Metro efficiently. This ticketing system was in force from 1996 to 2011 for 15 years.
In 2011, as technology was fast changing, it was felt necessary to upgrade the ticketing system of Metro Railway. In 2011 installation of Automatic Fare Collection and Passenger Control (AFC-PC) Gates were started at different stations of Metro Railway. These Automatic Fare Collection and Passenger Control (AFC-PC) Gates were installed at all the stations in 2011 and from July, 2011 these gates were fully commissioned. From July,2011 commuters started to travel in the Metro by purchasing Smart Cards or Smart Tokens.
Magnetic Strip Tickets (MST) became obsolete in Kolkata Metro from July, 2011 after the commissioning of these new AFC-PC Gates. only Smart Token and Smart Card holders were allowed to travel in the Metro. These paradigm shift in the ticketing system made Metro commuters very happy.
As internet became omnipresent and started to make our job easy, it was felt necessary to adopt this technology for the benefit of our commuters. Metro launched an online recharge facility of Smart Cards on 30.06.2020 for commuters. A commuter who wishes to recharge or top-up Smart Card started to do that from the comforts of home from Metro Railway website without physically going to the counters or standing in the long queues.
Metro introduced QR Code Based Ticketing System in Green Line on 03.12.2021. Metro Railway is also working to extend this facility on other corridors after providing QR Code scanners and upgrading hardware of existing AFC-PC gates in stations.
In order to make Metro journey smoother ‘Metro Ride Kolkata’ app was launched on 05.03.2022. This app has become popular among the users as it enables them to recharge their Smart Cards or book QR Code Based Tickets at any time from any convenient place. It is also helping them to save their time as they don’t need to stand in the queues in front of the booking counters. Centre for Railway Information System (CRIS) has developed this app which is available in Google Play Store this app also provides many important information about Metro Railway as well as Kolkata City.
Chief Public Relations Officer, Metro Railway