Delhi Metro’s smart card could soon be usable on other forms of public transport in the city if the various transport operators are able to reach an agreement regarding standards and fare collection.

“You could soon be using your Metro smart cards for fare payments in buses and cabs,” a spokesperson for the Delhi Integrated Multi-Modal Transit System tells PaymentsSource.

The Integrated Multi-Modal Transit System is working to make the card interoperable in the city, and the agency has held meetings with the Delhi Metro Rail Corp. seeking to discuss the various possibilities, the spokesperson adds.

When operational, the interoperable card would be usable on Delhi Transport Corp. buses and for taxis, the spokesperson says, adding that the entire process could take more than a year.

“The real roadblock would be the fare collection,” he says. “We would begin with monthly settlement between the Metro Corp. and the transport department and then put up an automated fare-collection system.”

Commuters would buy and reload the cards initially only at the Metro stations, but the transportation department would designate other places to buy and reload the cards under the new system.

Delhi Metro has issued 5.8 million metro cards since the inception of the network in 2002, and it sells about 12,000 smart cards every day.

The metro smart card is rechargeable in multiples of 50 rupees (99 U.S. cents or 73 euro cents) up to a maximum limit of 800 rupees. Passengers pay a security deposit of 50 rupees, and there is no extra charge to renew a card.

“The greater goal is to link the Metro smart card to the national common mobility card project,” he says, adding that the second phase would take “some time” to integrate with that project.

Called ‘More,’ the Common Mobility Card is an endeavor of the National Urban Transport Policy of India designed to provide a single means to access all types of public-transport systems throughout the country.

The Indian Ministry of Transport has planned the contactless smart card function as an electronic purse, and state-owned financial technologies vendor UTI Infrastructure Technology and Services Ltd. is supporting it, the spokesperson says.

The ministry expects UTI to connect buses, trains, metros, ferries, taxis and auto-rickshaws over the next five years under this project. The ministry is evaluating other uses, including for tolls, and retail and utility payments.

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