Staff Reporter

SMS booking likely to be launched in the city soon

HYDERABAD: Despite technology offering newer ways of booking a gas cylinder, city-dwellers seem to prefer the time-tested method of calling the local distributor.

For more than a year, ebharatgas.com and hindustanpetroleum.com have had the facility to book gas cylinders online An Integrated Voice Response system is also available for both Bharat Gas (BP) and Hindustan Petroleum (HP). Yet, a phone call is still the most common way a booking is made. SMS booking is already available in a few cities and may be launched in Hyderabad soon.

“It is doubtful how many people will use the SMS option”, says Ashok Kumar, president of the Greater Hyderabad LPG Dealers Association. “The IVR system and Internet booking have been operating for close to a year but they are not very popular.” Customers need to dial 12664 for BP and 12665 for HP, tell the name of the distributor and key in the consumer number. The system confirms the booking by providing a refill-booking number. A simple procedure but it has found few takers, says Mr. Kumar.

The catch is that the number can be dialled only from BSNL phones. “It is easier to call the local distributor because not everyone has a BSNL connection,” says J. Revathi, a housewife.

Booking via Internet is a longer process. Customers need to register for which they need an email address. “It takes as much time as booking an airline ticket. But more importantly, computers are not accessible to everyone,” says Ms. Revathi.