- New Transport Card for commuters to pay on state-run bus, tram, ferry
- Metro train, under central government, not included in the card
- Phone app called 'Patha Disha' also launched, making spotting a bus easy
The transport card does not include the city's famous metro service, said transport minister Shubhendu Adhikari. It is because "that's under the Central government", he added. Senior officials said eventually they would like to get Metro on board. In London, the Oyster card is used for all public transport, including the Tube.
The transport division saw two other big steps today. The drivers and conductors of state-run buses now have a new uniform -- dark blue trousers and light blue shirts with Mamata Banerjee's slogan, 'Safe Drive, Save Life' embossed on it. The earlier uniform was khaki coloured.
Not only will the buses have GPS systems installed, to ensure safety of women, every bus will have CCTV and a panic button that can be pressed in case of an emergency.
The app will also help in "accident management". If there is a mishap or some incident, police, hospitals, fire stations and other agencies will get an alert so assistance can be rushed to the spot.
"As one of the most densely populated cities, Kolkata is a challenge but could soon join the ranks of cities like London and Seoul which use data to deliver better transport," said Ms R Basu, World Bank.
The transport card is currently on sale at five major bus stations in Kolkata. They will be available from 20 locations soon.