Kochi Metro Rail Limited (KMRL) has set a new record to cash in on the Automated Fare Collection (AFC) system by engaging a private partner for sale of tickets. The KMRL would also get assured annual royalty and a share in the business returns of the partner.
An agreement in this regard was inked between KMRL’s CMD Elias George and Axis Bank CEO Shikha Sharma on June 10 in the presence of Minister of Urban Development M Venkaiah Naidu.
According to the agreement, Axis Bank will install the required complex hardware and software for fare collection from passengers and in addition will pay the KMRL Rs 208 crore over the next 10 years besides undertaking the entire maintenance. The bank will issue co-branded cards to the metro rail users for paying the fares as well as using them for all kinds of merchandise including e-commerce. KMRL will also be paid 0.2 per cent of the Axis Bank’s gross revenues from the utlilisation of co-branded pre-paid cards outside KMRL system.
Speaking on the occasion, Venkaiah Naidu said the KMRL and Axis Bank tie up is a unique technological and business model innovation, the first of its kind in the world and beneficial to both. He said that it also helps in creating a cash-less system besides enabling financial inclusion. The Minister asked KMRL to consider linking the co-branded pre-paid smart cards to Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana to deepen financial inclusion.
Naidu directed the Urban Development Secretary to explore emulating Kochi Metro’s initiative by other Metros in the country.
Kochi Metro is a joint venture of the Governments of India and Kerala being constructed at a cost of Rs 5,181 crore. KMRL has so far saved about Rs 800 crore through innovative procurement processes. Of the project length of 25.612 kms, 18 km is scheduled to be commissioned by June, 2016 and the rest by June, 2017.
Axis Bank has formed a Consortium of service providers and will soon start work on installing AFC system.