Saturday, July 9, 2011

The new face of Kolkata Metro

Recent in the news that our beloved metro is finally giving way to Token based tickets instead of paper ones.The preparation was complete in during May June and was just waiting for the right moment to launch.Now looking at the new system and since I had been used to delhi metro for quite some time,I did a quick review of the metro with an extensive research on the token system.

Launch Date

KM:Started back in 1973,the first line Dumdum to Mahanayak Uttma Kumar(AKA Tollygang) started in 1995.

Timelines of the metro in Kolkata:

  • October 24, 1984: Esplanade – Bhowanipur (now Netaji Bhaban) (3.4 km) 
  • November 12, 1984: Dum Dum – Belgachhia (2.15 km) 
  • April 29, 1986: Bhowanipur (now Netaji Bhaban) – Tollygunge (now Mahanayak Uttam Kumar) (4.25 km) 
  • August 13, 1994: Dum Dum – Shyambazar (3.8 km) 
  • October 2, 1994: Esplanade – Chandni Chowk (0.7 km)
  • February 19, 1995: Shyambazar – Girish Park (1.9 km) and Chandni Chowk – Central (0.6 km)
  • September 27, 1995: Central – Girish Park (1.8 km)
  • August 22, 2009: Tollygunge (Mahanayak Uttam Kumar) – Garia Bazar (now Kavi Nazrul), 5.85 km
  • October 7, 2010: Garia Bazar (now Kavi Nazrul) – New Garia (now Kavi Subhash), 3 km

 DM:Planning in 1984,operation started on 2002.

Meto Coverage

KM: Line 1 has a total length of 25 kilometres (16 mi) with 23 stations of which 15 are underground.Operating Speed:55 km/h (in service)


DM: The network consists of six lines with a total length of 189.63 kilometres (117.83 mi) with 142 stations of which 35 are underground.Operating Speed:35 km/h



KM:Zone based fare starting from Zone I@4 Rs to Zone V@12 Rs
DM:Distance based fare staring for min 8 Rs to Max 30 Rs
Daily Passenger Load and Trains.

KM:18 Trains(2590 passengers (approx)).I couldnt find the number figure so would be glad if someone can point me out to a website

DM:1.6 million with 188 trains(1506 Passengers approx-AC)

KM:Until lately paper tickets.Hopefully by the time this blog is posted,we will be having token based tickets

DM:Token based tickets all along.

KM:Kolkata Metro was only able to rake in a total of Rs 60.9 crore in 2007-08 and Rs 64.84 in 2008-09, with an operating ratio of 1:1.95. Thereby, for every Re 1 that the Kolkata Metro earns, it spends Rs 1.95. The losses are substantial.
DM:For the financial year ended March 2008, the Metro reported operating revenues of 305.27 crore (US$68.1 million) and a profit before tax of 19.98 crore (US$4.46 million),[76] which rose to 723.77
crore (US$161.4 million) and 90.43 crore (US$20.2 million) respectively for the financial year ended March 2009.
Coming to the Second Section:Token

Here is a quick comparison form Telegraph(

Gates: Turnstiles
Number of gates: 211
Mode of operation: Paper tickets have magnetic strips. Once the ticket is inserted into the machine, a magnetic reader recognises it and sends a signal to the turnstile. It can then be turned to let the commuter in.
Type of operation: Manual (and often problematic). After inserting the ticket, a passenger has to turn the turnstile to enter.
Types of tickets: Paper tickets for single and multiple rides, smart cards for regular commutes across different zones. New smart cards are not being sold any longer.
Time factor: 30 to 35 passengers per minute


Gates: Touch-free flaps
Number of gates: 280 in 23 stations. The gates will be divided into three categories. There will be gates exclusively for either entry or exit while some will be revertible ones. According to Metro sources, 66
will be for entry, 96 for exit and 111 revertible gates. The number of gates will be increased later.
Mode of operation: Radio-frequency identification technique ensures faster, smoother system. “A sensor inside the machine reads the signal from the plastic token and the flap gates open automatically. The
system will be operated through a central server at Metro Bhavan,” spokesperson Protyush Ghosh said.
Type of operation: The plastic tokens, about three cms each in diameter, have to brought near the sensor for the flaps to open. When the commuter exits, the token needs to be dropped in a “collector” for the
gate to open.
Types of tokens: Coloured daily tokens and smart cards. There will be no multiple-ride tokens.
 Time factor: 50 to 55 passengers per minute.

  • Tokens are are mostly resistant to wear and tear because of the plastic body 
  • They are a effective solution to paper tickets which actually gets wasted after use.Tokens are easily reused. 
  • The mechanism is fast so expected time for ticketing and passing through the gate is much less 
  • Eliminates the ticket misuse or broken gates so increasing the flow of passangers in and out of station. 

  • Tokens have a lifetime of 30 mins from issue and overall 90 mins in travel.So forget waiting outside metro for someone and grabbing the ticket earlier. 
  • No return funda meaning..longer queue for irregular passengers. 
  • Gates operate for 20 seconds after sensing the tokens so..buckle up and run... 
  • Loss of tokens will incur a fine of 250 Rs..ouch, incase some one decides to keep the token as a souvenrir
Well Kolkata metro definitely geared up for the change.After reading the post one can think that I do favour delhi metro more than kolkata.But no I take the neutral stance and the true story behind delhi metro's success is that,they had someone to learn from(Kolkata Metro) where as kolkata metro,being the country’s first, and a completely indigenous process, the construction of the Kolkata Metro was more of a trial-and-error affair.
As a result, it took nearly 23 years to completely construct a 17 km underground railway.But looking at the timeline I have posted earlier, we definitely have picked up the pace in recent years.Lets hope for a better and cleaner metro in Kolkata

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