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Exclusive: Bangalore Metro sells ~1.3 lakh WhatsApp QR tickets in first month


The Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Limited’s new WhatsApp chatbot for booking QR code tickets in the city has seen a small trickle of interest so far, with 1,27,217 tickets booked in November, the first full month of the service being available, according to data provided by the BMRCL to Entrackr.

This represents a fraction of the 5 lakh daily passengers that the metro system claims to carry every day — the tickets were sold to 54,226 passengers, meaning that each person who booked a WhatsApp QR ticket only booked a little over 2 tickets on average throughout the month. Less than 1% of journeys happened through a WhatsApp QR ticket if the 500,000 daily passenger number is accurate. 2,628 of these tickets were canceled.

A WhatsApp spokesperson did not have a comment to offer on the data.

A media report on Wednesday stated that an average of 14,000 passengers used a QR ticket every day, but the data provided to Entrackr indicates that the actual number is closer to 4,240, at least on WhatsApp. The Namma Metro mobile app also sells QR tickets.

Yellow.ai, the company which worked with BMRCL to set up the chatbot where these QR tickets can be purchased, also provided numbers that don’t seem to reflect the actual scale of the facility’s reach.

In a case study published on their website, Yellow.ai said that the chatbot had exchanged over 15 million messages with over 100,000 passengers (of which, it turns out, almost 44% ended up not buying a ticket, or used the chatbot to reload their NFC card balance). Upwards of 28 messages may be exchanged for purchasing a single QR ticket, according to testing by Entrackr. A Yellow.ai spokesperson did not have an immediate comment to offer.

The data indicates that most passengers are still queuing up for ticket tokens, or using the reloadable NFC cards that BMRCL sells — only about 6,000 users have used the WhatsApp chatbot to recharge their cards, according to Yellow.ai. Turnstiles in Bangalore Metro stations are equipped with NFC readers for disposable token tickets and metro cards, and with a QR code reader for tickets purchased on WhatsApp or on the Namma Metro app.

Large flex banners and stickers have been installed on multiple metro stations to advertise the QR ticket chatbot, but as recently as mid-November, several passengers were still queuing up to buy physical tickets at counters.

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