Kolkata goes the London way as it releases its Oyster transport card
KOLKATA, March16: The Mamata Banerjee government today launched what could evolve into something just like London’s all-in-one Oyster Card for the metropolis’ transport. It is called the ‘West Bengal Transport Card’ and will enable commuters to swipe and pay fares on all state-run buses, trams and ferries in the city.
The transport card does not include the city’s famous metro service, said transport minister Shubhendu Adhikari. It is because “that’s under the Central government”, he added. Senior officials said eventually they would like to get Metro on board. In London, the Oyster card is used for all public transport, including the Tube.
The transport division saw two other big steps today. The drivers and conductors of state-run buses now have a new uniform — dark blue trousers and light blue shirts with Mamata Banerjee’s slogan, ‘Safe Drive, Save Life’ embossed on it. The earlier uniform was khaki coloured.
The other big step: the launch of a smart phone app called ‘Patha Disha’ that will give commuters real-time information on how far their bus is, whether there are seats available, what buses are available and how long it will take to reach their destination. It would also enable users to find out how crowded the bus is.
Not only will the buses have GPS systems installed, to ensure safety of women, every bus will have CCTV and a panic button that can be pressed in case of an emergency.
The app will also help in “accident management”. If there is a mishap or some incident, police, hospitals, fire stations and other agencies will get an alert so assistance can be rushed to the spot.
The World Bank is supporting the initiative, along with Korea Green Growth Trust Fund.
“As one of the most densely populated cities, Kolkata is a challenge but could soon join the ranks of cities like London and Seoul which use data to deliver better transport,” said Ms R Basu, World Bank.
The transport card is currently on sale at five major bus stations in Kolkata. They will be available from 20 locations soon.