India rolls out national transit card system

Rupay NCMC one nation card

India is launching a single card which can be used to pay for travel on all transportation systems across the country. The National Common Mobility Card (NCMC) can be used on metro, buses and suburban railways, as well as to pay for parking and tolls and in shops.

Dubbed ‘One Nation One Card’, the contactless card system is India’s first domestically developed transit platform and was unveiled by Prime Minister Narendra Modi while inaugurating the first phase of the Ahmedabad metro service.

The stored value card system comprises the NCMC card itself, an automatic fare collection system known as Sweekar and an NCMC standard fare gate known as Swagat.

The cards “are bank issued debit/credit/prepaid cards and the customer may use this single card for payments across all segments including metro, bus, suburban railways, toll, parking, smart city and retail,” the Ministry of Housing & Urban Affairs explains.

“The stored value on card supports offline transactions across all travel needs with minimal financial risk to involved stakeholders. The service area feature of this card supports operator specific applications, for example, monthly passes, season tickets and so on.”

“Various initiatives have been taken by transit operators to automate and digitize the fare collection using an automatic fare collection system (AFC),” the Ministry explains. “The introduction of closed loop cards issued by these operators helped to digitize the fare collection to a significant extent. However, the restricted usability of these payment instruments limits the digital adoption by customers.

“The customers need not carry multiple cards for different usage. Further, the super quick contactless transactions will improve the seamless experience. This will also help in higher digital payments penetration, savings on closed loop card lifecycle management cost and reduced operating cost. The rich data insights may be used by operators for business intelligence leading to efficient operation.”