Mahesh Kumar, a daily wage worker in Noida, on Tuesday afternoon thought of commuting through the Aqua line metro from Sector-137 to reach Laxmi Nagar to visit his relatives. Being a resident of the city for the past seven years, Kumar was very much familiar with metro services but the hiccups he had faced during the process of getting a 'smart card' made his journey no less than an ordeal!
It all began like this - After reaching the ticket counter, Kumar asked the official about the price of the smart card. The official replied, “You have to pay Rs 300 for it”. He took out a 500-rupee note from his pocket and gave it to that official, assuming that he can now commute without any hassles but that was not the end of his story. The official, sitting at the ticket counter, pointed towards a bunch of forms and asked Kumar to fill one of them in order to issue him the metro card.
Looking at the form, Kumar anxiously replied, ‘Main toh padha likha nahi hoon, main yeh form nahi bhar paunga (I am not literate. I will not be able to fill this form). But he had no other option left! Hence, he started looking for a person who could help him in filling the form. Ten minutes passed and the official sitting at the counter asked Kumar to wait for a few more minutes as he had just attended some customers.
Sadly, three more customers reached the counter the moment he stepped out of it. Twenty minutes were gone and Kumar was still waiting to get his form filled and move towards the platform with the ‘smart’ card. Finally, after waiting for 40-odd minutes, Kumar requested one of the commuters to fill his form, wherein he was asked to give out his Aadhaar number beside furnishing other details. He now heaved a sigh of relief, believing that he would travel to his destination with all ease but there was another piece of information waiting to disappoint him and that is the smart card which he has been issued is not applicable in Blue Line metro (Noida City Center to Dwarka).
After boarding the Aqua line metro, Kumar expressed his views to City Spidey saying, “This is a tough task for people like me who cannot read and write. I mean, it took me 40 minutes to get this card. I would have reached Laxmi Nagar by now had I not wasted my time like this! Now again, I have to stand in a queue at Noida City Center station to buy a ticket.”
Citing Kumar’s story, we asked one of the officials of the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) why the card issued for Blue line is not valid in Aqua line and vice-versa. The official replied, “DMRC is just assisting the Aqua line project. The decision related to the facilities being provided to the commuters has to be taken by the Noida Metro Rail Corporation (NMRC).”
Replying on whether DMRC and NMRC will have a common smart card in near future, the official said, “Yes, there is a possibility! DMRC’s smart cards are being used in DTC buses and metro feeder buses in Delhi. We are in discussion with the NMRC on smart card issue and hopeful that a decision would be taken soon in this regard.”
Other than smart cards, issues related to paper tickets with QR code, train coaches and interchange facilities on this stretch are bothering the commuters across Noida and Greater Noida.