Wednesday, August 18, 2010

BEST has stopped renewing smartcards’


Smartcards are currently being renewed in the following categories: Students up to Class X will have to pay Rs 90 for a month. Those in Class XI-XII will pay Rs 190 for monthly and Rs 570 for three-months Passes are being renewed for city (Rs 350 monthly charge and Rs 900 quarterly), suburbs (Rs 450 monthly and Rs 1,100 quarterly), Magic Card Holders (Rs 550 monthly and Rs 1,400 quarterly)

 BEST commuters having ‘short-distance’ monthly and quarterly passes (smart cards) have been left in limbo as the transport body has not been renewing passes for the past two weeks.

Although the BEST recently began renewing smart cards for long-distance routes in non-AC and AC buses, those who travel daily on the feeder routes—from residential colonies to local railway stations—are the worst hit.

“It was economical to travel on a monthly pass from my residence on Film City Road to Goregaon station. But the BEST has stopped renewing our passes. We are now forced to buy tickets, which is proving to be expensive,’’ said Sudhakar Redkar, a regular passenger. Another commuter, Murali Krishnan, rues, “It seems they want to scrap the short-distance passes so we have no option but to purchase tickets at inflated rates,’’ he stated.

BEST general manager Om Prakash Gupta clarified that the move to stop renewing short-distance passes was “temporary.’’ “We have also stopped issuing new smart cards. But we plan to restart these services in a month,’’ he said.

Commuters are upset with the BEST’s decision to stop issuing new cards. MNS activist Chetan Pednekar said he has received complaints from around 50 passengers from the Parel area who wanted to buy new smartcards. “MNS legislator Bala Nandgaonkar met Gupta on Tuesday and has requested him to restart the service at the earliest,’’ he stated.

Sources said that the BEST was reportedly planning to blacklist Kaizen company, which had earlier issued these smart cards. It will now appoint a new company to provide a three-in-one machine, which will help conductors issue tickets, scan cards and renew cards on board. MNS activists have demanded that if the Kaizen contract is cancelled, the 350 daily wage workers who will be rendered jobless should be absorbed elsewhere.

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