The Chennai Metro Rail (CMRL) is considering distributing its smartcards in some retail outlets and restaurants in the city to enhance further usage of the system. The CMRL has already identified shops and eateries to distribute around 2,500 cards and it will assess the public’s response towards the same subsequently.
The outlet owners stand to benefit through the move as they will gain commission from the number of smartcards that they end up selling. Moreover, the CMRL will send its officials and staff to the stations so they can persuade the commuters to purchase these smartcards.
They aim to exponentially enhance the count of people travelling through the smartcard method via this initiative. The metro service attracts around 80,000 passengers on a daily basis currently and they are targeting increasing the footfall to at least 100,000 commuters.
However, sources quoted in The Hindu report mention that this objective could remain unfulfilled amidst the recent surge of Covid-19 cases across the country.
The report suggest to the state government to instead consider implementing a single-card system so that the same smartcard could also be used in restaurants, malls, busses, retail outlets etc. “Then, commuters will use these cards to pay everywhere. This was the idea when smartcards were mooted initially,” the source mentioned.
As a logical progression, the Metropolitan Transport Corporation (MTC) bus stations will be moved closer to the metro stations. This way, the commuters would be able to walk from one point to another very conveniently resulting in an increase in passengers availing both the metro and the bus services.