The state transport department has decided to install smart gates at all 26 ferry ghats in city. Setting up of smart gates at three ferry ghats has already increased revenue by Rs 15,000 to Rs 20,000 a day, which amounts to Rs 60 lakh a year. Encouraged by plugging of revenue leakage at only three ghats, the transport department has decided to take the step.
The move will help integrate the ferry system with the city’s bus transportat system. The commuters can seamlessly move from bus to ferry with the same smart transport card they use to pay the bus fare. There will be no need to stand in queue, said a senior transport department officer.
On an experimental basis, West Bengal Transport Corporation installed smart gates at the Fairlie Place, Shipping Corporation of India (Millennium Park jetty) and Howrah station ghats and saw more than 20% jump in revenue — Rs 5 lakh a month. A close scrutiny revealed that a large number of commuters, in connivance with ferry ghat managers, were travelling without tickets.
“We have now decided to install turnstile gates at all 26 ghats. Apart from plugging revenue leakage, the smart gate will facilitate seamless movement of commuters. The commuters don’t need to stand in queue. After disembarking from bus, a commuter can straightaway get onto a ferry by using the same smart card. This will save a lot of time,” said a senior transport department officer.
With the World Bank aid, the state government is revamping the highly underutilised waterway. The old rickety pontoons and gangways are being replaced and minimum required amenities are being added. A lifeguard has been made mandatory at every jetty. The transport department has projected nearly 100% growth of commuters in the next few years.
Source: Times of India