Monday, August 3, 2015

Not just a token

Chennai has been a relative late-comer to the Metro rail scene, being the sixth or the seventh (depending on whether you consider Gurgaon as being distinct from the Delhi Metro - it actually is) in the country to operate such a service. Since its inauguration on June 29 this year, the Chennai Metro has seen a lot of traffic; the CMRL authorities are still trying to figure out if it is actually commuter traffic, or folks who are taking a joy ride on the Metro.

We were among the latter a couple of weeks ago. I've been used to picking up the small, 1"X 0.3" dull yellow pasteboard tickets on the city's suburban trains that I was looking for something like those when the clerk at the counter, channeling his inner croupier, pushed these tokens towards me. I had heard about these tokens - once anyone enters a station using a token, the system checks if the same token has come out within a given timeframe. If it does not, something like a missing person alert goes out and the passenger is traced. Helps cut down loitering at the stations. 

But then, I kept these tokens away so carefully that I couldn't find them when we got off the train. Searched all my pockets. Nada. So we head over to the help-desk. Too many people there, we are asked to wait. And then, like always, my wife told me where to look for them. Sure enough, there they were. Well, we did not get to find out what happens to a commuter who loses his tokens. And we are glad we didn't!


Kate said...

The system for the new tokens is quite ingenious.

Shantaram said...

It is new to Chennai, but all the other metro systems in the country use the same kind of tokens. Also a security feature...