An increasing human population begets an increasing number of private vehicles on road. No one cares if that increases pollution and pushes us closer to a real doomsday situation. And why should anyone care? Why should anyone sacrifice his comfort and use public transport ?
A Kochi based start-up seems to have come up with an answer to this question.
“CityonWheelz,” a concept developed by a Kakkanad-based IT start-up ,uses a smart card to which points will get credited for every green initiative promoted by the user. The user can redeem the points during shopping and travelling.
If everything falls in place, this will be a reality from January for lakhs of commuters using public transport daily in Kochi.
Hibi Eden, MLA, said while the project was laudable in theory, its success depends on the cooperation from the district administration, corporation and the passengers at the implementation stage. “The youngsters should be appreciated for the thought process itself. I have pledged all support to the project and has promised to be present at its launch next month,” he said.
The introduction of the pilot project in the city entails three systems named WheelzPass, mWheelz and WheelzPool.
Under the WheelzPass, travel passes will be issued to commuters who can use it instead of money for using public transport. Passes will be issued at discounted rates — higher the denomination, higher the discount. Based on the usage of public transport, points will get credited to their WheelzGreen card.
Plans are also afoot to facilitate recharging of the card by setting up outlets in working class-centric points like near the civil station and the high court.
Initially, paper passes will be issued. “We plan to introduce a swiping technology shortly for which an additional module will be added to the existing ticket vending machines used in private buses. Once this is done, the conductor just needs to swipe the card in the machine and the ticket fare will be automatically debited from the account,” said Nithin P.R, founder CEO of Technovia Info Solutions Private Limited, which has introduced the concept.
The introduction of mWheelz, a mobile or web-based application, means that passengers can search buses operating in and around the city thus enabling them to time their travel accordingly.
Mayor Tony Chammany said while the corporation was positive about the project, he was yet to study the nitty-gritty of the project.
M.B. Satyan, district secretary of the Private Bus Operators’ Association, welcomed the project. “It will put an end to constant arguments between passengers and bus employees over ‘change.’ The passengers will be benefited as they can also know the timing of bus services through their mobiles,” he said.
WheelzPool will be a mobile or web-based application facilitating pooling of vehicles among those belonging to the same residential area, company, or have similar office hours at least once or twice in a week. People can also use it for organising joint pleasure trips as well. Again, participants will get points credited to their WheelzGreen card.
While we have to wait and watch to gauge the effectiveness of this solution, it is definitely an applaudable initiative. Let’s hope authorities realize the seriousness of the pollution problem soon and we get to see large scale measures to promote public transport in the near future.