Kochi: The ‘City on Wheelz’ project, where passengers can travel in buses by swiping smart cards, would finally be implemented from Thursday next when District Collector P.I. Shiek Pareeth launches ‘Wheelz Cards’ which could be used in 150 private buses, on a pilot basis.
“First, the private buses have to register to enable smart card use in their vehicles. The process starts from August 29 and extends till Onam. A total of 25,000 Wheelz Cards (smart cards) will be sold initially.
Starting from September 1, the smart cards will be effective in 150 buses plying in the Fort Kochi-Aluva, Fort Kochi-Kakkanad routes. If successful, it would be implemented in all private buses,” said Nishant Ravindran, chief executive officer, Technovia Info Solutions, which has been entrusted with the project.
The company would distribute swipe card machines, having a smart card reader and internet facilities. From the user side, all that the passenger has to do is to purchase a ‘smart card’ and recharge it once or twice a month.
While travelling, it’s handed over to the conductor who just flashes the smart card over the specially designed ticketing machine after entering the code of the boarding and alighting stops.
“The Wheelz Cards will be launched by the District Collector on Thursday morning at the Vytilla Hub. The cards are designed in such a way that they can be used in all modes of transport in the future, including the metro,” said K.N. Raji, Special Officer, Vytilla Mobility Hub Society.
The major apprehension is whether small-time operators who own just a bus or two would be willing to adopt the latest technological application.