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UP state bus service hit as cash dries up

Hit by demonetisation , the UPSRTC has decided to introduce payments through e-wallets at its ticket counters

noida Updated: Dec 09, 2016 23:37 IST
Peeyush Khandelwal
The agency has decided to introduce  payments through e-wallets at its ticket counters.
The agency has decided to introduce payments through e-wallets at its ticket counters.(Sakib Ali/HT Photo)

Hit by demonetisation blues, the Uttar Pradesh road transport corporation (UPSRTC) has now decided to introduce payments through e-wallets at its ticket counters. The officials said they have sent a proposal to their headquarters for approval after ridership in luxury and AC deluxe services declined, post the demonetisation of old notes on November 8.

For their prime segment of Volvo, Scania and AC buses, there has been a dip in the load factor with Volvo and Scania operations registering a 12% dip in ridership. The AC ‘Janrath’ buses registered a decline of 10% ridership in November as compared to the same month last year.

The ridership or load factor measures the capacity utilisation of public transport services. It is generally used to assess the efficiency of the transport provider in filling up seats and generating fare revenue.

“Overall, we were surging ahead with a 12% plus load factor during the first week of November. However, after demonetisation, we saw an overall dip of 8% in November. Now, we have held discussions with online wallet companies and sent a proposal to our headquarters for cashless transactions at our counters,” said PK Bose, regional manager UPSRTC.

The demonetisation has affected the ridership of buses to Nepal as well. Generally, the corporation runs these buses at 50% ridership to break-even. But, in November this year, it failed to even recover its operational costs.

On Friday midnight, the corporation will stop accepting the scrapped Rs500 notes. They are finding ways to deal with the situation as a majority of passengers buy tickets with cash. To beat this, the corporation is widely publicising the use of prepaid monthly cards and e-wallets.

However, the UPSRTC seems unprepared to go cashless at this point. As per records, there are hardly 1.63 lakh prepaid card and e-wallet users throughout the state.

Apart from the luxury segment buses, the demonetisation has also hit the rural bus service hard. The ridership of ‘Lohiya Gramin’ rural buses— which already runs on a 25% lesser fare — has declined by 7% in November.

Currently, the UPSRTC region has also suffered in terms of target collections, which stands at 98%. Generally, the target collections are higher at almost 123%.

Officials said they have almost scrapped the Dasna to Kaushambi bus service, which has been incurring operational losses.

“We have held preliminary discussions with the Delhi Transport Corporation to run city buses in Ghaziabad as is done in Noida. An earlier proposal for running 200 city buses under Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission was also sent, but is yet to get approval,” Bose said.