We are exploring the idea of NFC for ticketing

VoicenData Bureau
New Update

Plying across the capital's heartland, Delhi Metro Rail Corporation has

emerged as the new lifeline of the city. Over seven years, since the first

section of the Delhi Metro was opened in 2002, it has carried over a billion

commuters. The second underground rapid transit system in India, after Kolkata,

the Delhi Metro has a combination of elevated, at-grade, and underground lines.

Touted to be world class, the mass rapid transit system has not only eased the

snarling traffic situation in the capital state, but has revolutionized the

transport system indeed. DMRC boasts of completing phase-I of the project within

budget and almost three years ahead of its schedule. It will soon be rolling in

to the adjoining National Capital Region as well. Services have already started

in Noida. The Ghaziabad Development Authority is planning to extend Delhi Metro

lines further in Ghaziabad in five phases. Eyes are now set on the biggest

attraction-the hi-tech Airport Metro Express Link- that will enable commuters to

reach Indira Gandhi International Airport in eighteen minutes flat from the New

Delhi metro station. Set for a deadline of September, this quick link is

expected to redefine metro travel with features like city airport terminals,

where commuters can check-in directly. Proud to be a member of such a scrupulous

team, director, operations, Delhi Metro Rail Corporation, Raj Kumar takes

VOICE&DATA on a journey to the corporation's telecom set-up that is one critical

link in making Delhi Metro a successful system. Excerpts


Tell us about the telecommunications network that forms the backbone of

Delhi Metro.

DMRC's telecommunication network comprises basic subsystems, including fiber
optic transmission system, telephone system, train mobile radio system, public

address system, and closed circuit television (CCTV) system.

The system provides voice, data and video signal communication among

stations, operation control center (OCC), headquarters, depots, ancillary

buildings, and all necessary designated areas and facilities. The system is

designed to facilitate normal train and station operation, management of

incidents, abnormal operations, and emergencies. We have an optical fibre based

network having a bandwidth of 256 MB. We have two central servers at Shastri

Park and Barakhamba station. These centers are manned round-the-clock by chief

controller, traffic controllers, traction power controllers, fault management

controllers, and auxiliary system controllers. The master clock is GPS based and

all the trains are computer controlled. We have deployed propriety software and

hardware for security and punctuality of the trains.


We have an independent, 380 MHz digital trunked TETRA radio communication

system from Motorola, used on all three lines to carry both voice and data

information. This is best suited for the need of a dedicated network, we could

not have relied on GSM. Any break here in the service would mean the entire

system would come to a stop. After we adopted Tetra, Delhi Police and Ambulance

services are now rolling out their network based on this technology.

Also, there is an arrangement for passengers to speak to the driver, in case

needed. Each coach has four press buttons that are connected through physical

wiring to the driver's compartment.

Metro changed the way ticketing was done in India. What new innovations

are you exploring on this front?

Right now we are using radio-frequency identification (RFID) based tokens

and smart cards for ticketing. Japan has witnessed good results by deploying

Near Field Communications for ticketing. We have been talking to NXP for past

three years and exploring how technology can be deployed for DMRC. We had seen

some interest to come up with interesting models for mobile ticketing from C-SAM

that develops Mobile Transaction Platforms. NFC may come soon, depending on

various factors. Also, we are looking at an innovative ticketing system for the

airport express line and the Gurgaon line, where the fare will be automatically

divided between Delhi and Haryana authorities.


What kind of gadgets is the metro staff equipped with?

The staff is manned with required protocol radio sets. All our departments,

including the HR and accounting have dedicating systems for ERP. We have labs

for hardware monitoring. All equipment rooms are monitored. Lifts and elevators

are always under online surveillance.

What kind of connectivity do you offer to retail outlets?

Connectivity is not an issue with DMRC. We have enough bandwidth that we can

sell to operators. We have arrangements with all operators like Airtel, MTS,

BSNL, MTNL, and arrangements on limited scale with Reliance Communications. We

have at least two ATMs running at each station. We have been selling bandwidth

to the operators, however, we have not reached a model yet where these operators

can further sell the bandwidth. As far as other shops and outlets within the

metro premises are concerned, they do not have major bandwidth requirements.

Bengaluru Metro Rail Corporation (BMRC) is working to supply metro trains

with WiFi systems which will allow passengers to access the web. Are there

similar plans for Delhi Metro as well?

I personally feel for a rapid transport system like the metro, Wi-Fi

connectivity sounds very exciting. However, the distances are not very long.

Passengers may not have enough time to use their laptops while traveling. There

is little time that passengers spend within the train. There are some students

who hang around with friends for a longer time. But, that definitely does not

mean that this cannot be explored. May be, once the Airport Metro Express Link

opens, we might consider this keeping in mind the requirements of both domestic

and international passengers.


What are some of the green practices that DMRC has adopted?

The Delhi Metro has won awards for environment friendly practices from

reputed organizations, including the United Nations and the International

Organization for Standardization, becoming the first metro to be ISO 14001

certified for environment friendly construction. Most of the metro stations on

the Blue Line conduct rainwater harvesting. We also have feeder buses running on


Once 3G and BWA spectrum auction happens, what kind of infrastructural

changes will you require to make on your network?

3G and WiMax will definitely change the way operators conduct their

businesses. The basic physical infrastructure required is in place on our

network. DMRC will not have to make any additional investment. Operators will

need to simply come and plug-in to be able to offer next generation services.

Heena Jhingan