BMTC manually issuing tickets on 15% of its routes

With the cash-strapped Trimax IT Infrastructure and Services hitting a rough patch, Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) is facing a crisis. Reason: Trimax is not carrying out replacement or repair of BMTC’s existing electronic ticketing machines (ETM). This has forced BMTC to opt for manual issuing of tickets on about 15% of its routes, replacing the ETMs. BMTC, which operates 2,250 routes, has a daily ridership of about 45 lakh. Sources say Trimax, which implemented BMTC’s Intelligent Transport System (ITS), is now undergoing corporate insolvency resolution process under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code. An interim resolution professional (IRP) has been appointed to carry out functions of Trimax. BMTC managing director NV Prasad admitted that there are some issues with ETMs due to Trimax’s poor financial condition. “We are in talks with the IRP and sub-vendors of Trimax to resolve these issues at the earliest. We have asked them to extend their services for at least six more months, so that we can identify another firm through a new tender.”

In 2016, the BMTC launched ITS, which includes vehicle tracking system, electronic ticketing system, passenger information system, back-end automation of depot operations and command and control centre, to bring about operational efficiency in the corporation. Every month, BMTC pays between Rs 80 lakh-Rs 1 crore to Trimax for the ITS project.

However, there have been several complaints against BMTC and Trimax and how neither passengers nor staff have benefited from the project. In fact, the BMTC app isn’t user friendly and there is no proper real-time information of buses and cashless ticketing.

ITS was also supposed to monitor violations such as over-speeding, skipping stops, route deviations and bus bunching. However, BMTC officials say the ITS project has helped improve services, reduce complaints and also take action against errant staff. Officials said they are also in the process of replacing about 11,000 old ETMs with advanced Android-based ones. More than 1,000 have already been replaced. The new machines will allow commuters to buy tickets through digital wallets like Paytm. It will also accept both open-loop and closed-loop smartcards.

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