Birds Eye Systems’ public transportation information app Ridlr is running a pilot with Navi Mumbai Municipal Transport (NMMT) where users can pay bus fares via the app. Currently, only two routes, AC-123 and AC-125, are running the pilot.

Users will have to select the destination and pay through a mobile wallet for an e-ticket. Ridlr has tied up with Citrus Cash for wallet services and money will be deducted every time a user books a ticket. The bus conductors on these routes carry a mobile device which can verify the e-ticket from the app. The Ridlr app connects with the bus conductor’s mobile device via a combination of Bluetooth and wireless technology, similar to something we’ve seen before in iKaaz’s proximity payments.

“The transport authorities wanted to see how the response will be for the first three months, before going full throttle for all 700 buses on NMMT,” Ravi Khemani, co-founder and chief technology officer at Ridlr told MediaNama. “This is a scalable technology and can expand to both local transportation buses and inter-city buses,” he added.

Ridlr is also in talks with Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport (BEST) to enable digital payments via their app on their buses. BEST has a fleet of over 4,000 buses plying in the Mumbai region.

Other wallet integration

Khemani also mentioned that the company is in talks with other wallet players and integrate them into the Ridlr app. “It’s not that the partnership with Citrus is exclusive. Our  product team is looking at other players as well. Citrus provided us with expedited support to integrate a wallet. So currenty, we are with them,” he added.

MediaNama’s take

Digitizing bus ticket payments is a great step. Everyone who gets on the bus usually has to fight with the conductor for change, and this looks like an easy way to cut dependency on cash.  Though, it remains to be seen if Ridlr’s pilot will actually take off. Adoption is crucial as many commuters still do not have a smartphone and wallet penetration is low. Ridlr priority needs to be to get more wallets on its platform to increase usage.

Birds Eye Systems funding

In October 2014, Birds Eye Systems raised an undisclosed amount in a Series B round of funding from Qualcomm Ventures. The company also raised an undisclosed amount of funding from Matrix Partners India in December 2013 and Rs 2 crore from the Indian Angel Network in April 2012, to further develop its product and enhance the scope of its services.