Since passengers are not allowed to keep tokens while exiting Metro stations, their sale on eBay is a punishable offence, say BMRC officials.
“The development came to our notice last month. We immediately wrote to eBay and lodged a complaint with the Cyber Cell. However, if the practice is continuing, we will take the matter up with them again,” BLY Chavan, BMRC spokesperson, told TOI.
Namma Metro tokens were put on sale for a whopping $49.99 (Rs 3,136.37) for a set of 10 on eBay on Monday morning; six NYC subway tokens were priced at $14.99 (Rs 940.47). The offer price for a Namma Metro token was quoted at $5.99 (Rs 369.97) apiece later in the evening.
Whoever has put the Namma Metro tokens on sale are hoping to cash in on their collector’s value. Metro tokens from Ukraine, St Petersburg, Shenzen and Santiago among other places are also on offer on eBay.
From Day One of Namma Metro operations on the 6.7-km-long stretch between Byappanahalli and MG Road, BMRC has been warning passengers not to carry the tokens out; it’s an offence that attracts a fine of Rs 200. However, more than 2,500 tokens have gone missing from BMRC counters.
A person cannot exit a Metro station without dropping the token at the exit gate. But until 15-20 days ago, each person could purchase more than one token, which meant that he needed to drop only one token and could walk out with the other. “We have instructed our personnel to issue only one token per head. This, we believe is the best way to prevent such practices,” says Chavan.
Officials say a passenger holding a Metro smartcard can still buy a token but use the card to enter/exit the station, making it easy to smuggle tokens out. Also, a person can always claim to have lost the card while exiting the station, and pay in cash the price for journey, and walk away with the card.
The solution, therefore, officials said, is for people to not indulge in such activities. “Initially, when the Metro service was launched, people took extra tokens to keep as memories of their travel in the one-of-the-kind service, but now, the tokens have found markets online, which will see an increase in stealing of tokens,” another official says.