The Reserve Bank of India, earlier this month, revoked the authorisation granted to Kaizen Automation Private Limited, for issuance and operation of ‘Go Mumbai’ prepaid cards. Kaizen was among the 12 companies granted authorization to issue prepaid cards by the RBI, over the past two years. In a prepaid card, consumers add money to the card prior to the transaction
The Go Mumbai card was first introduced in 2007 by BEST, the body responsible for bus transportation in Mumbai, as a pilot project. The card had to be refilled at dedicated service points, and BEST equipped bus conductors with hand held devices to validate cards. This was later extended to Central and Western Railway’s local train services, and smart card validation devices were installed at stations. Note that the Delhi Metro has operated entirely on the smart card system since launch, while the BEST initiative was an attempt to convert users to a new mode of payment.
Media reports suggest that the response to the service was not good, and as of August 2010, the Railways reported that only 12,000 commuters used the card on Central Railway, while only 39 commuters used it on Western Railway. Also, Kaizen was not able to provide hand-held devices or operate refilling points effectively, which acted as a deterrant. Both, BEST and the Railway Board decided to discontinue the card last year. The Railways’ agreement with Kaizen expired in December 2010.
A report in the Indian Express also suggested that the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation had cancelled a seven year contract for providing a ticketing and smart card system for the Bus Rapid Transit System (BRTS), that it signed with Kaizen, after the company failed to deploy the required services.