Mumbai: Experts happy with BEST going digital for payment

Updated: Jul 03, 2020, 07:46 IST | Rajendra B Aklekar | Mumbai

But demand options to make the entire travelling process hassle-free for both commuters and BEST employees

Amid COVID-19, the emphasis has been on making the journey cashless to avoid contact. File pic/ Satej Shinde
Amid COVID-19, the emphasis has been on making the journey cashless to avoid contact. File pic/ Satej Shinde

Transport experts have expressed their delight with the BEST Undertaking's decision to go digital with UPI online payment plans while suggesting more methods to improve the experiment.

"This is a good move for Digital India and if implemented correctly, it will be a big relief to commuters and BEST employees. Digital Ticket should be faster to issue and hassle-free than issuing a physical ticket. Moreover, BEST should also implement either totally automated fare collections like a toll or instead of a fare chart only with the conductor, the fare chart should be made available to commuters via a website, mobile app, etc. This way, commuters can self-check the fare and be less dependent on the conductor thereby making the entire experience speedy for everyone," said Raxit Sheth, who developed 'Mobile for Mumbai,' a bus search application for commuters.

Urban planner and transportation consultant Vivek Pai said, "I welcome the move. However, being a government entity, it will be ideal to use BHIM UPI and Swadeshi Apps. Though this is a welcome step towards cashless payment the procedure adopted seems to be clumsy and time-consuming."

City transport expert Ajit V Shenoy said, "It is better to have pre-paid cards which you show at a contactless card reader during entry and exit which will deduct the fare. You should be able to buy the card either from a depot or a conductor and a conductor should have the authority to recharge these cards using a handheld device in multiples of Rs 100."

mid-day reported on Wednesday on how the BEST, with piles of coins and loose change, finally moved in the direction of UPI cashless transactions with bus conductors now being given QR code scanner badges that can be scanned by commuters. Long due, but now done at two bus depots on an experimental basis, the process is slowly paving the way for cashless transactions to avoid an exchange of physical money in these days of COVID-19.

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