Bhopal, Dec 11 (IANS) While the central government is making an all-out effort to push for the culture of digital transactions, it is just the opposite case in Madhya Pradesh, where online booking of tickets for air-conditioned private buses costs 13 per cent more than buying them at counters.
Since the demonetisation of high-value currency notes on November 8, there has been an acute shortage of liquid cash. People have been unendingly queuing up at banks and ATM kiosks to get some cash.
Against this backdrop, the Narendra Modi government has been trying hard to push cashless or low-cash transactions to tide over the crisis as also to make India a digital economy. It has been offering various incentives for making digital payments.
While the railways are offering service tax waiver for online bookings until December 31, those booking tickets online for AC buses in Madhya Pradesh end up paying 13 per cent more than at counters.
The AC coach fare for travel from the state capital to Indore is Rs 330, but when booked online, one has to pay Rs 373, where Rs 43 is the ‘online booking charge’. Similarly, Indore to Jabalpur journey by bus costs Rs 1,100, but when booked online, the ticket costs Rs 1,243.
The Madhya Pradesh state government does not have an inter-city, long-distance bus service of its own. The Madhya Pradesh Road Transportation Corporation was shut down way back in 2008.
Currently, the transport services are completely in private hands. They impose charges as per their whims and fancies.
Atal Indore City Transport Service Ltd. CEO Sandeep Soni told IANS: “As the private companies use other platforms for facilitating online booking of tickets, those facilitators also charge. This makes the online bookings costlier.”
Soni said with a view to reduce the online booking charges, his company is in the process of signing a deal with Infinity Infotech, which will offer its platform for transactions at much lesser cost.
The Infinity Infotech develops software, applications and websites. “Very soon other bus operators will also start using its platform for online bookings, to the benefit of the travellers,” he added.