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Pain on String

The Modi government may have asked people to go cashless after demonetisation of high denomination currency notes but commuters are facing huge inconvenience as it takes more than four to five minutes to complete a transaction through PoS (Point of Sale terminals) installed at suburban railway ticket counters. As a result of this ticket booking clerks have to face the wrath of those commuters who wants to buy a ticket using cash. These machines also have increased the workload of ticket booking clerks who have to compile data of digital transactions and cash transactions. Initially, the railways had installed the PoS machines to ease the woes of commuters who were facing troubles while purchasing tickets at counters due to shortage of cash. There used to be huge arguments between commuters and ticket booking clerks over change. Right now, passengers can book long distance tickets, suburban tickets and monthly season tickets through card swipe machines. These machines were installed on December 26 at various stations in the city. The railways also wanted to give some reprieve for their employees from handling huge cash.

Rajesh Damle, a daily commuter from Borivali  said, “When these machines were installed last month, I felt that commuters won’t have to struggle for tendering exact change to ticket booking clerk. However, it takes more than four minutes to book a ticket through PoS machine. People standing beside me get involved in a war of words with clerk and ask them to issue tickets faster.”

Nitin Patil, a BPO employee from Andheri said, “Whenever I try to book a ticket through card swipe machines transaction fails due to poor connectivity issues. Therefore, I have to swipe my card three to four times for completing my transactions. I hope the railways must sort this issue out soon else passengers may shift back to cash transactions.”

Swati Shah, a Kandivali resident said, “Passengers become frustrated when it takes too much time for the machine to issue a ticket. I am also worried about using my card through PoS machines as there is a possibility of my card data being stolen. Railways must take steps to enhance digital security before going cashless.”

Nandakumar Deshmukh, president of The Federation of Railway Passengers’ Association said, “Instead of installing PoS machines at every counter railways could have started a separate counter for card transactions. Three counters could be started at major stations while one or two will be sufficient for smaller stations. If there is proper demarcation between cash and digital transaction counters then it will ease the woes of commuters who want buy tickets using cash.”

Already 11, 103 passengers have booked tickets through PoS terminals between 27th December – 9th January 2017. 8, 985 passengers from Central Railways and 2918 commuters from Western Railways have availed this service. Since, these machines are installed at every counter customers carrying debit cards don’t have to stand in separate queue for buying tickets.

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