KOLKATA: When Radhanath Mukherjee was stopped at the exit gate of Shyambazar Metro station for travelling with a token valued at Rs 5 rather than one worth Rs 10, the septuagenarian found few takers when he explained that he had paid Rs 10 at the counter and had been given the wrong token. When asked whether he had checked the passenger information display (PID) at the counter window, Mukherjee said he had not.
The situation was equally embarrassing for Manoj Roy when he took a train to Rabindra Sarobar with his fiancée. The staffer at the gate wouldn’t believe that he had actually paid Rs 20 for two tokens worth Rs 5 each. Again, Roy had failed to spot the PID screen that is barely 5X1.5 inches. The PID shows the true value of the tokens being issued.
For Metro Railway officials, it was difficult to determine whether the counter staffer had erred or Mukherjee and Roy were dishonest. Now, it has come up with a solution. The small monochrome LCD PIDs are now being replaced by 32-inch monitors that would clearly display the value of every token — in English, Hindi and Bengali — purchased. “The screens will be connected centrally to our system. While 25% of the screens will display the fare, the remaining portion will be put to commercial use.
Disputes over smart tokens do occur. Some people suggested that we use different coloured tokens but that would destroy the concept of smart tokens altogether. It would also lead to chaos if a station runs out of tokens of a particular colour. The best way out was to improve the display and we started this as a pilot project. After successful trials at Park Street station, all counters will have the screens soon.
Apart from providing passengers an amenity, Metro will earn non-fare revenue of Rs 42 lakh per annum from the screens,” Metro Railway CPRO Indrani Banerjee said. READ MORE

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