Soon metro commuters using smart cards will not have to stand in queues for recharging their cards. The Kolkata Metro Railway is mulling over a scheme to introduce online smart card recharge system by the end of this year for a faster commute.

Once the facility is in place, commuters using smart cards will be able to recharge them online by visiting the website of the Kolkata Metro Railway. The website will feature a link that will direct the users to the page and enable recharge using virtual wallets or debit and credit cards. Once done, the new balance on the card will be saved in the database of metro railways.

Commuters will later be able to update and check their balance at the card balance checking terminals (CBCT) installed at various metro stations. The facility will not only enable commuters to recharge without any hassles of waiting in long queues but will also reduce rush at Metro stations which get overcrowded during peak hours. Three agencies, according to sources in Metro Railway are working on the development of the new recharge system.

“Apart from Kolkata Metro Railway, Centre for Railway Information Systems (CRIS) and Indian Railways Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) are working jointly on the online smart card recharge system,” informed a Metro official. “While CRIS is responsible for developing the application, IRCTC will provide its payment gateway for the recharge,” added the official.

The Metro Railway authorities, according to the official, had been making efforts to introduce the system before Durga Puja. However, following a problem in integration of payment gateway with the application, the plans of the introduction of the new facility have been pushed back for some time. In addition to the online smart card recharge system, efforts are also being made to introduce the online ticketing system by the end of this financial year.

For the new system, scanners to read the quick response (QR) codes need to be installed at the metro stations. The railway board, as informed by railway officials, has allotted the funds required and the work on the development of the new system is being carried out by CRIS.