Reliance Infrastructure-led Mumbai Metro is keen on charging commuters higher fares, Rs 10 to Rs 40. However, in the initial week of operation, their ticketing system itself has become a problem.
Even though the Mumbai Metro operated smoothly on its third day, the ticketing system remained an area of concern, with passengers being put to great inconvenience with faulty tokens, smart cards and Automated Fare Collection (AFC) gates in "one of the most advanced metro systems" in the world.
There were problems with the AFC gates at some of the stations like Andheri and Ghatkopar, resulting in commuters having to wait a long time in queues.
At every entrance and exit point there is a set of three AFC gates. At Andheri metro station, for instance, one of the AFC gates was shut and Mumbai Metro assistant was seen collecting tokens from the commuters. At the same time, the second gate was 'out of service'. The third is for people with smart cards.
Also, commuters could be seen pouring in, even on the third day of operations, demanding replacement of faulty tokens and smart cards. Problems had apparently cropped up due to technical issues.
As the day progressed, crowds continued to swell and managing them became a tad difficult for the staff. One could hear announcement after announcements asking passengers not to use the AFC gates at the concourse level, as they were crowded as compared to the ones at the platform level.
One of the most common pieces of articles that was getting reported lost in the mad rush was mobile handsets. "I don't think my mobile was stolen, it must have fallen off somewhere in the metro station while boarding or alighting the train," said Pratibha Sunil, a resident of Kalwa.
As per the data available with Mumbai Metro officials, X.XX lakh passengers travelled on the system till X pm, and by midnight X.XX lakh commuters were expected to take the metro ride.