Conveniently getting a bus ticket has always been an issue with travelers facing long queues, frequent delays resulting in bad customer experience, and eventual loss of revenue for the government. Taking this into consideration Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC) decided to take the help of electronic ticketing machines (ETM). In addition to delivering swifter, simpler, safer travel to passengers, this solution enables efficient fleet management and minimizes revenue leakage. MSRTC is a leading passenger road transport organization in India with a fleet of over 16,000 buses and operating 90,000 scheduled bus trips daily on an average. It has deployed over 30,000 conductors for these buses. More than 60 lakh passengers, on an average, use the MSRTC services daily.
The basic crux of the project was to automate the existing ticketing system by electronic ticket issuing machine and online reservation system (ORS) for web and advanced booking of tickets. Bus travelers in Maharashtra can now also book their tickets through the MSRTC website, http://www.msrtc.gov.in/. Also, reservation services can be availed from 284 MSRTC locations, authorized private booking agents, and through mobile booking. The solution enables in-bus e-ticketing and online booking system, performing live transactions through a payment gateway. Trimax provides MSRTC infrastructure, software solution, and IT services to enable voluminous data management and provisioning of seamless connectivity for efficient operations.
MSRTCs e-ticketing facility was inaugurated to public on January 8, 2010. This is a secured and robust solution that has been designed keeping fast booking and user-friendliness in mind. It is expected to prove instrumental in assisting MSRTCs operating distance of more than 178 crore km per year. The project was implemented by Trimax IT Infrastructure & Services on build operate transfer (BOT) partnership with MSRTC for 5 years. The project revenue will go to the tune of `200 crore in 5 years. We are charging MSRTC on a per ticket basis, informs Surya Prakash Madrecha, chairman and managing director, Trimax.
Before the solution could be implemented, Trimax was faced with solving a plethora of problems and also had to ensure that the solution they were offering answered to many of the grievances faced by MSRTC. To start with, there were operational inefficiencies in managing both manpower and the bus fleet. Owing to inaccurate and delayed MIS reports received from depots across the state, the central office faced problems as data was not available with regard to from where how much revenues were generated. It also resulted in delayed revenue reconciliation. Apart from all this, the higher cost of manual ticketing process burnt a hole in the pocket of MSRTC. Even inefficient fund management added to the woes of MSRTC by causing revenue leakage. Last but not the least, the process for advance ticket booking and cancellation for customers was also tedious.
The solution is operational in all 247 depots and at 284 reservation centers across Maharashtra. In the pilot phase, Trimax deployed ETM at 10 locations (5 DO/5 depots, Mumbai). Currently, there are more than 30,000 conductors who successfully issue tickets using around 28,500 ETM handhelds at 247 locations supplied by Trimax. These conductors had to be trained to use this technology and more so train the trainer methodology was adopted. Trimax maintains the depots 24×7 on BOT model through provision of relevant hardware, software, and service. As a continuation of the offering, a data center needed to be built at Mumbai and a disaster recovery site at Pune.
After deployment of ETM machines, ticketing times were reduced by approximately 15-30 mins, and also the conductors could not do any cheating regarding sale of tickets. In fact the management can now gather the revenue figures as and when required, and also the MIS system has improved. This enables operators to track revenue per bus and profitable routes. Apart from better fleet management, it also enables better reconciliation of public finances. In fact, the ETM gets locked automatically and only after data transfer takes place at the respective depot, it can be reused. In other words, this ensures that there is no misuse. Apart from this, even the reduction of burden of costs related to printing manual tickets have resulted in benefits for MSRTC. This end-to-end solution has brought in a lot of accountability improving the efficiency to a large extent.