If you’ve ever had an altercation with a Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport (BEST) conductor over change, you may want to forgive them after reading this. An RTI query reveals that the BEST receives only about Rs 5,000 every day incoins.
But the Rs 10 and Rs 100 notes received per day amount to Rs 25.46 lakh and Rs 2.26 crore respectively. The reply to an RTI query filed by activist Manoranjan Roy reveals that the average daily earning of the BEST undertaking is Rs 4.14 crore. The query specifically asked for the denominations of notes received from passengers.
The statistics show that passengers hardly give money in the form of coins. Roy said, “This is a serious issue as coins are disappearing slowly. Only Rs 2,000 to give as change to about 40 lakh commuters is too little. The conductor is always at loggerheads with passengers over change.”
In the RTI query filed in the month of January, Roy asked for BEST’s earnings of December 26, 2012. The statistics reveal that passengers also give Rs 1,000 notes, probably while buying passes.
A conductor, who did not want to divulge his name, said, “We get change before going on the bus for duty. But, from the very first stop, passengers start giving Rs 100 or Rs 500 notes to buy tickets that cost between Rs 6 and Rs 10. The arguments bother us too.”
Every day, the BEST carries over 39 lakh passengers. It has nearly 4,300 buses in its fleet, including AC buses. Sunil Ganacharya, BEST committee member, said, “Over 45 per cent of our passengers give Rs 10 notes and our minimum fare is Rs 6.”
There are other sources of change, however. Till 2011, the BEST used to get Rs 16 lakh in change per month from RBI. The sum was increased to Rs 25 lakh afterwards.
BEST officials said that conductors are not falling short of change as each conductor is given Re 1 coins before leaving for their job. A S Tamboli, senior PRO, BEST, said, “The conductors are given some change before leaving from depots for their work. Since the minimum fare is Rs 6, we have not got complaints about change.”