People using Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) to commute are yet to take to the newly introduced UPI based e-wallet system introduced in buses. While daily ridership is a little over 10 lakh, the number of digital transactions is just over 1,000 a day.
“On June 10, around 1,047 people made digital transactions generating ₹57,308 while on June 11, there were 948 transactions, which generated ₹50,519,” said a BMTC official.
The number of digital transactions rose marginally to 1,132 on June 12 but fell to 828 on Saturday and 635 on Sunday. BMTC officials attributed the drop to the fact that ridership was low on the weekend.
At present, passengers can pay through QR code in over 4,000 buses. When BMTC resumed services on May 19, only 75 buses were enabled with this feature.
Arun K., Director, Security and Vigilance, BMTC, said that the pandemic prompted them to quickly embrace digital avenues of payment. “The number of people using the QR code facility is increasing every day. A mass adoption of the system will happen slowly, but steadily,” he said.
Another BMTC official said that the introduction of weekly and monthly passes has contributed to the reduction of cash-based transactions.
Commuters who used the digital system say it is hassle-free.
Sharath N., a regular commuter in BMTC, said that the QR code based payment was safer and quicker. “Nowadays, I am using it to generate my ticket. I don’t have to struggle for change,” he said.
‘Lack of awareness’
BMTC staff are of the opinion that it is mainly the youth who are familiar with the QR code form of payment. “Not many know that the digital transaction option is available in BMTC buses. It will be more effective and efficient if QR code stickers are available at more places inside buses,” a conductor said.
The BMTC is planning to introduce more QR code stickers in buses to create awareness.
‘Revenue has improved’
BMTC, which is operating around 4,800 buses, ferrying over 10 lakh people, is seeing a steady rise in revenue.
“On an average, revenue is over ₹1 crore from the first week of June, following an increase in fleet and ridership,” said a senior BMTC official.
However, the corporation has a long way to go as this accounts for less than 50% of its earnings when compared to pre-lockdown days.