Chennai Metro Rail to tie up with Mobile Wallets to help Commuters skip Queues

Online recharge facilities too for Metro smart cards soon

CHENNAI: Chennai Metro Rail plans to tie up with mobile commerce platforms, including Paytm and Freecharge, to ease travel for commuters.

According to officials of Chennai Metro Rail Limited (CMRL), this will allow commuters to skip queues in stations and directly board the train. “We are holding discussions with them; we will see how soon this can be implemented. Commuters can recharge the smart card online using these platforms,” an official said.

Delhi and Mumbai Metro has already put this facility in place where commuters can recharge their cards through PayTM.

Also, State Bank of India (SBI) plans to roll out a combo card with Chennai Metro Rail in a few weeks, officials said.

SBI will begin to issue debit/credit cards to their customers which can be used in Chennai Metro Rail stations as well; it is a travel cum bank card. Unfortunately, commuters cannot just show this combo card at the Automatic Fare Collection (AFC) gates and travel. “They have to recharge this card too in the station and then travel. But we are working out a mechanism where those combo cards can be directly shown at the gates. It should happen in the near future,” an official said.

Lucky draw contest

Also, to urge commuters to go cashless, Chennai Metro Rail had conducted a lucky draw contest where the staff get details of commuters who use debit or credit card. They choose one person from the lucky draw and then recharge their smart card with Rs.00.

Chennai Metro Rail started its first service from Koyambedu to Alandur in 2015 and extended it up to Chennai airport last year. The fares range from Rs. 10-50 for normal class and double this amount for special class. Though there has been an increase in the number of commuters buying smart cards, still a majority has been only getting tokens, sources said.

In a move aimed at easing commuting, Chennai Metro Rail Limited (CMRL) is planning to roll out an online recharge facility for smart cards. The provision is expected to be introduced within a month.

CMRL officials say they are currently testing the system to look for any improvements that could be made before launching the facility. “This will be a great time-saver for commuters. They can recharge their cards at their convenience, come to the station and directly board the train,” an official said. Commuters have to pay ₹100 to get a smart card, which is available at Metro stations across the city.

Once the facility is launched, Chennai would join the likes of Delhi and Mumbai in offering online recharge options for Metro smart cards.

Only recently, the State Bank of India, in association with CMRL, launched a ‘combo card’ which works as a debit-cum-Metro transit smart card. A variant is available with credit cards as well. Earlier, commuters had to top-up their combo cards at the Automatic Vending Machines in Metro stations. “But if this system to recharge online is introduced, top-up of combo cards could also be done online. We are working out the modalities to incorporate the combo cards as well into the online recharge platform,” a CMRL official said.

This apart, CMRL is planning to tie up with mobile commerce platforms like Paytm and Freecharge.

Chennai Metro Rail caters to over 10,000 commuters daily.