By Poorna Harjani www.cnngo.com
Mumbai will launch its own smart card aimed at tourists by the end of 2013, with daily or weekly passes available for any mode of transport, including metro, monorails and taxis.
With this single smart card, visitors will be able to tour the city as often as they’d like and switch between different types of transport at their convenience — similar to London’s Oyster card and Hong Kong’s Octopus card.
The Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA), which is behind the venture, have hired KPMG as consultants who are already searching for a firm to build the integrated system.
“With a single card, you can travel multiple times on any mode of transport — it is a convenient, hassle-free system and we are looking forward to it,” said Om Prakash Gupta, general manager, Brihanmumbai Electricity Supply and Transport (BEST).
Mumbai’s railways already have a smart card system, “Go Mumbai” — for buses and railways — which helps commuters avoid queues at stations.
However, there are no detailed maps explaining how to use different modes of transport and no points of information for tourist attractions.
“Maps could be drawn up, showing people how to travel to Colaba by the metro and then access the bus system to see the Fort area or how to visit the heritage monuments in the old city,” said an official at MMRDA.
Other plans include announcements on air-conditioned buses giving information about places of tourist interest, restaurants, kiosks, art galleries and heritage structures through speakers, as tourists arrive at their next stop.
Dandy. However, the project can only take off once several of Mumbai’s new railways are completed, and all the relevant institutions agree to be involved.
“It will take time as the institutions concerned will have to discuss modalities — but it will happen as Mumbai has to become a modern metropolis,” said transport consultant Arun Mokashi.
Yes, and we’re already 10 years late. More info