Chennai Metro to stop selling smart cards

The most commonly used ticketing option in the Chennai Metro – smart cards or travel cards – are no longer issued to commuters. However, if commuters already have the card, they can top it up and continue using it.

According to officials of the Chennai Metro Rail Limited (CMRL), they have stopped purchasing these cards and this was done to encourage commuters to purchase the National Common Transport Card (NCMC).

When the Chennai Metro Rail service was launched nine years ago, smart cards and tokens were the only ticketing options available to commuters. Many people have been purchasing this card and even today many people are still using it. Data shared by CMRL shows that in March, among the 8.682 million passengers, the largest number of smart card users was 3.764 million.

“We stopped purchasing smart cards in November last year. This is because we launched NCMC in April last year and all smart card facilities can be used at NCMC. Also, NCMC is the way forward as commuters will be able to use them for shopping or Travel by other modes of transportation.

But the move has not been popular with some commuters. Poornika Anandan, a regular commuter and a working professional who has been using smart cards for many years, said CMRL should not stop procuring smart cards and continue providing smart cards to commuters. Although she has both SmartCard and NCMC, she finds the former more convenient. “The most important thing is that it is easier for commuters to buy smart cards than NCMC as NCMC has to submit proof of identity. Commuters are mostly in a hurry and may not have time for identity verification,” she added.

Another commuter S. Balasubramanian said that he too has had a smart card for a long time and was happy to see CMRL launching many other ticketing options such as NCMC, WhatsApp, PayTM or QR tickets. “But they should not throw away and do away with the smart cards that many commuters are accustomed to using. Seniors like me find these are the most convenient tickets to buy and top up.

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