How might we use PayTM wallet in replacement of metro cards? — A Concept

Damodar Badhwar
4 min readApr 11, 2020

About Company: PayTM travel is a subsidiary of PayTM catering to the travel market. Apart from metro tickets, they allow a user to book flights, trains, buses, hotel etc.

In this case study, I will discuss a potential concept that PayTM could add to enable users to use their wallet to pay metros.

The Problem

As of April 2020, Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad have started offering QR based access to few stations. This already has given us a possibility of going digital however a user need to enter the source and destination to book every single time.

This is also a great opportunity to improve the accessibility of the transportation system and bring more transparency.

The Users

Here we are segmenting a potential user into two kinds:

  1. A daily commuter who uses the metro for office/college/school commute
  2. An out-of-town visitor who will use the metro just once to get access to the metro


There can be two technological options to get access to the metro:

  1. Near field communication (NFC): As most of our phones are NFC enabled, a person could simply tap their phones onto the terminal for access.
  2. QR code: PayTM has brought a revolution in QR code usage. It has already been used from a big showroom to a small eatery cart. The mechanism is similar, you just scan it and perform actions.

For the scope of this study, we are going to explore QR based scanning. Simply because PayTM QR code is widely used and is inexpensive to set up in new places compared to NFC.

The User Journey

The user journey is inspired by the current metro card system itself. Here is how the user journey of using a physical metro card looks like.

As you may have observed, the system only cares if the balance is sufficient. It doesn't consider the factors like the destination, user details.

Here is how we used the same approach for metro bookings at PayTM

The only change is instead of a physical card, the metro system will check your PayTM wallet for funds.

Additionally, a user can

  1. Track ETA of upcoming trains
  2. Know how crowded the upcoming trains are
  3. Search routes
  4. See ride history
  5. Book passes
  6. Recharge metro card
  7. Book tickets for others

Here is an Information architecture of the problem

Defining Success

Following parameters can be used to measure the success of the concept:

  1. Number of bookings (more the better)
  2. Revenue (more the better)
  3. Support tickets (lesser the better)
  4. Session time (lesser the better)
  5. Scan success


Introducing metro QR

The first proposed change is we added a tab where a user can switch between merchant payments and metro. In the ‘metro’ tab users can see their unique QR which they need to scan at the AFC gate for the access. The AFC gates will have to be enabled with PayTM’s QR scanner as well.

One thing that is to be noted is that this QR is only valid to pay metro fares and not any other transaction.

Post payment screen

At the time of checkout, scan the same QR and PayTM will deduct the fare from your wallet. We used the same success screen used by PayTM.

Track upcoming trains

Track journey

Final thoughts

The goal of this case study was to fit the concept in PayTM app without changing the architecture much. But I feel there is already a lot going into the app that will shove this feature deep.

Some thoughts that also came into my mind were

  1. How might we design a sophisticated system that does not need any interaction with machines for checking-in and out
  2. How might we design a solution that does not require to go to the app?
  3. What could be the constraints of taking a full online approach?

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