If you are a Delhiite, chances are you use the Metro once in a while. The most convenient option for a Metro commuter is using a smart card. Delhi Metro has brought an end to woes of thousands of daily passengers with their online portal for the general public which helps them recharge their smart cards through online transactions.
The Smart Card Technology
Smart Cards use Near Field Communication technology (NFC). NFC is a short-range wireless technology, typically requiring a separation of 10 cm or less. Machines on all the metro stations are NFC reader and writer machines. Each card contains an NFC tag inside which allows the exit machines to read or write data on it. They write station code in the card when you enter a station and when you exit, calculate the distance based on the station code entered in the card.
As convenient as they are, standing in long queues to recharge these smart cards could have been the norm, taking the smartness out of the smart cards! (Imagine the inconvenience of that when you are running late and desperate to top up your card) But fortunately, smart card users can now recharge their smart cards instantly without queuing up at stations. You can go on www.dmrcsmartcard.com and enter your card number and amount using a debit card, credit card or net banking. The website provides convenience to the user but also gives them a secure platform to recharge their smart cards without shelling out extra bucks.
Here is how you can recharge your card online in three easy steps:
(1) Enter the amount and Card Information
(2) Secure Pay through Credit/Debit Card or Net Banking
(3) Present their Cards at AVMs (Add Value Machines) installed at Metro stations to validate their Top Up.
(For a complete list of stations where AVMs are installed go here).
You can register yourself at the website to see all the online transactions made on your cards. You can also add multiple cards on their portal.
You can use the SMS facility to recharge your card, however at present this facility is provided only for ICICI bank users. After sending the SMS, you are required to present your cards at AVMs (Add Value Machine) installed at Metro Stations.
Smart Cards Getting Smarter
From April 2015, smart card users were able to also use their smart cards on the Airport line. Earlier, the regular smart cards were not usable on the Airport line. So one had to get in long queues to get a token or buy a separate card for this line.
Since the Airport Metro and Delhi Metro fares are not the same, the smart card systems of the two lines took a while to be integrated. The Revenue Collection System software of the DMRC had to be upgraded to make this integration possible. This was an important upgrade and added to the smart card’s convenience significantly.
Another important upgrade was to increase the maximum recharge amount on the card from Rs. 1000 to Rs. 3000.
Why are Smart Cards Better than Tokens
(1) You save money! Get 10% discount on each journey performed using smart card.
(2) You have the freedom to terminate or extend your journey without pre-planning (Fare will be deducted only till the station you exit from).
(3) You can board the train till the last minute (Token sale stops 5 minutes before departure of the last train).
(4) Smart card is transferable and can be used by any friend, relation or family member.
Future of Smart cards
While online recharges are really convenient, what would be even more convenient for regular users is to have automatic recharges on their card every time the balance on the card dips to a certain minimum value.
The Delhi Metro has surely changed the landscape of the city. Being one of the best public transport modes in India, it is a technological milestone in urban infrastructure. Now, with the convenience of online recharges, smart cards are indeed getting smarter.