The corporation plans to find a contractor who can install and maintain a new set of electronic ticketing machines capable of collecting fare through digital wallets or debit/credit cards
After burning its fingers in the first attempt, the Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) is going back to the drawing board to rework its IT adoption plan and is looking for a new technology provider to improve its operations.
The corporation plans to find a contractor who can install and maintain a new set of electronic ticketing machines (ETMs) capable of collecting fare through digital wallets or debit/credit cards. Next, it is looking at global positioning systems (GPS) for its 6,500 buses.
While the ETM is to provide hassle-free fare collection and reduce pilferage, the GPS is to provide real-time information about bus movements. “We will invite bids for these works in 15 days,” BMTC managing director NV Prasad told ET. A separate bid will be floated for developing a mobile application and to run the in-house call centre facility. The BMTC is in search of a project management consultant to revamp its IT initiatives.
About three years ago, it had entered into a five-year contract with Trimax IT Infrastructure and Services to implement its IT plan. While the vendor introduced services such as 10,000 ETMs, GPS and a mobile application, it got into a financial crisis and abandoned the project midway.
A senior official said the BMTC has not paid Trimax for six months. “Most of the ETMs need to be repaired but that’s not happening on time. Not all buses are being tracked either. We are somehow managing the show as we cannot drive them (Trimax) away until we find a replacement,” he said.
On many routes, conductors are using manual ticketing processes while collecting fares as there is a shortage of ETMs. “There are about 250 buses in our depot but we are given only 50 ETMs. Manual ticketing is not good for the BMTC as there is a high chance of pilferage,” the officer said. About 10,000 ETMs were given by the vendor on lease, but there are now more advanced ETMs that are far cheaper.
The BMTC has been criticised for failing to introduce IT solutions such as bus-tracking facility, not allowing ticket purchase using digital payment options and booking of a seat in advance. The utility has been functioning independently for 25 years and caters to about 48 lakh people daily.