Considering the need for cashless transactions post demonetisation, the Brihanmumbai Electricity Supply and Transport (BEST) undertaking is looking at various avenues to promote its services. The BEST administration has decided to request the Railways if it could set up stalls at railway stations in Dadar, Kurla, Churchgate, Andheri, Bandra and the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST) for selling its e-purses, a prepaid ID card that can be topped up to purchase tickets.
Currently, the passengers visit BEST bus depots or stations to buy the smart cards or recharge e- purses, which is cumbersome and therefore most people prefer buying ticket using cash.
The BEST transport division has witnessed a 273% increase in its daily collection for e- purse recharges since the announcement of demonetisation. Till November 8, 2016, the BEST average e-purse collection a day was Rs2.29lakh, but post demonetization it increased to Rs8.55lakh a day.
BEST’s daily collection through its sale of bus passes also increased by 44%, from Rs54.39 lakh a day to Rs78.20 lakh a day, after demonetisation. On a few days, the recharges crossed the Rs1 crore mark, which is a record, said a BEST official.
“Considering the massive response of commuters to cashless ticketing, we have decided to promote our smart cards and e-purses at popular railway stations. For this, we will request the Railways to give us some space so we can sell our smart cards,” said Jagdish Patil, BEST general manager.
BEST will continue to accept old Rs500 notes till December 15 for paying electricity bills, renewing bus passes and e-purse recharges. “We are informing our customers via SMS that they can renew their bus passes using the old Rs500 notes,” added Patil.
“Demonetisation is a great opportunity for public transport agencies and toll plazas to go cashless. They should give their maximum in pushing for smart-cards, e-purses, mobile ticketing so that maximum commutes are shifted from cash to cashless transactions,” said Ashok Datar, transport expert.