Kolkata, India (Metro Rail Today): Tokens will be back for Metro Railway passengers from Thursday, the carrier said. “Tokens are going to be re-introduced in North-South and East-West Kolkata Metro from November 25. These tokens will be issued from the counters of all the stations,” Metro Railway said in a statement on Monday.
Tokens were suspended from March 2020 to combat the spread of the coronavirus. Even when Metro services resumed — last year and this year — only smart card holders were allowed to board the trains.
In March this year, the authorities had planned to bring back the token system but the second wave of Covid forced them to abort the plan.
“The Covid situation has improved. Since the resumption of suburban trains, the volume of Metro passengers from outside Kolkata has also gone up. The Metro Railway Users’ Consultative Committee had been pressing for the resumption of tokens for a long time,” said Manoj Joshi, Metro Railway general manager.
The daily passenger count has been ranging between 3,00,000 and 3,50,000.
Metro officials said they wanted regular passengers to keep using smart cards.
“We will conduct extensive campaigns among passengers to drive this point home. For a regular passenger, a smart card is the best option. People who use Metro occasionally should buy tokens,” he said.
Before the pandemic, the daily average passenger count was over six lakhs.
“Around 50 per cent of the passengers were smart card holders,” said an official.
Metro Railway has sold more than 15 lakh smart cards since the pandemic, said sources in the carrier. But many passengers have returned the smart card on the same day of purchase to get back the security deposit.
When Metro services resumed in September last year, the carrier had introduced colour coded e-passes for entering the stations. A smart card was must for a train ride. When services resumed this year, the e-pass system was not there but a smart card was still must for a ride.
A token for the shortest journey costs Rs 5.