Urban mobility has always been a focus area for policy, but with cities expanding at a faster beat than even a decade ago and the pressure to develop green transport solutions building, governments worldwide are looking to bolster public transport in their jurisdictions any way they can. Against such a backdrop, Delhi getting set to adopt a ‘common card’ to pay cashlessly for travel on Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) and cluster buses as well as the Delhi Metro and its feeder bus service is welcome news indeed. More so, given the proposal to make the Delhi Metro smart card—used by 65% of the passengers using the metro service—the common mobility card has been hanging fire since 2010. While a model inter-modal card was tested last year, commuters in the national capital can avail of the service from January 1, 2018.
This was a mobility solution that Delhi took long to adopt. Cities across the world had already transitioned to some or the other form of a common travel card decades ago. London, which introduced the Travelcard that can be used as an inter-modal ticket for London Underground, London Overground, TransportforLondon Rail, Docklands Light Railway, Tramlink, London Buses and National Rail services in the Greater London area in 1983, introduced the contactless Oyster card in 2003. New York got its MetroCard—used for paying for travel on its metro rail, public buses, as well as select train and tram lines and airport connectivity services—in 1993 and Seoul got its T-money card in 2004. The T-money card can also be used at convenience stores. Delhi needs some 11,000 buses while it has just 6,300, taking together DTC’s fleet, cluster buses and mini stage carriage buses. So, if paying for your ticket in an overcrowded bus—imagine the plight of digging out the right amount of change or waiting for it to be paid to you as others jostle to do the same—is made a bit easier with the common mobility card, it could make public transport seem more attractive. More so, given it will also serve seamless last-mile connectivity.