VIJAYAWADA: In the one month since demonetisation, cashless transactions are gaining traction slowly but surely in the capital of Andhra Pradesh. It is the state transporter APSRTC which has taken the lead to go cashless’ — making virtue out of necessity..
Anticipating difficulties due to demonetisation, APSRTC procured 250 e-PoS machines from the government and has dispatched nearly 100 of them to its booking counters statewide. “We hope to go completely cashless in the near future. But our requirement of e-PoS machines is much more,” Jaya Rao, Executive Director (operations), APSRTC told Express.
Given the shortage of small notes, people are increasingly preferring to use their credit or debit cards to buy tickets. The number of passengers purchasing bus tickets using these cards at the Pandit Nehru Bus Station in Vijayawada has increased significantly since e-PoS machines were introduced.
“It is easy and the transactions happen in just a couple of minutes and we do not have to bother for change for the big notes,” said a passenger Madan Mohan, who purchased three tickets to Hyderabad with his card.
The clerk at the reservation counter, Sambasiva Rao, agreed. “My job has become easier. Some 70-75 per cent of transactions at this counter are cashless. Further, we do not have to bother about change. This is safe, secure and transparent.”
More than demonetisation, it is the Rs 2000 note that has made people to opt for cards.
APSRTC centres in other parts of India the state are reporting a switch to cards as well. At the main bus station in Tirupati for instance 60 per cent of the tickets at the reservation counter are being purchased with credit or debit cards. “It is better than using cash. We don’t have to look for change. Now time is saved,” said G Vijaya Kumar, a passenger who was booking a ticket to Chennai.
M Subramanyam, the counter clerk, explained that the time taken for cashless transactions was much less than cash transactions. “Further, keeping a record of the transactions is easier this way,” he said.
Echoing the same view, Bhaskar Reddy, assistant transport manager of the Tirupati Bus Station, said the e-PoS machines were introduced only 10 days ago and the number of people using cashless transactions to purchase tickets is increasing steadily.
Karnataka’s KSRTC which operates buses between Bangalore and Tirupati has also introduced e-PoS machines at its counter and last Friday, it registered 92 per cent cashless transactions. “We had more cashless transaction slips than cash,” PV Ravi Kumar, clerk at the KSRTC reservation counter said.
In Visakhapatnam, cashless transactions seem to be the prefered mode of payment for purchase of bus tickets, going by the increase in cashless transactions since November 29, when e-PoS machines were introduced at the Dwarakanagar Bus Complex. On the first day, cashless transactions accounted for just Rs 20,000 but on December 8, the figure jumped to Rs 1.2 lakh.
But there are people, who in spite of having credit or debit cards, prefer to purchase only with Rs 2000 notes for getting change. “Cashless transactions are good and easy, but cannot be done everywhere. We need change for that and here we are able to get the necessary change,” B Mohan a passenger reasoned.
However, cashless transactions are yet to become popular in bus stations at places like Srikakulam, Vizianagaram and other places where e-PoS machines were introduced four days ago. In the last four days, tickets worth Rs 20,000 were purchased this novel way in Srikakulam while it was Rs 10,194 in Vizianagaram.
“They were only introduced four days ago. It will take time for people to get used to it. If you ask me, it is for the best, as we are finding it hard to give the change for Rs 2000 notes,” a senior RTC official in Srikakulam said.