BEST planning to introduce digital payments and e-tickets

BEST planning to introduce digital payments and e-tickets

Brihanmumbai Electricity Supply and Transport or BEST is currently going through a financial crisis. In the meanwhile, its authorities have proposed to implement e-ticketing along with a digital payments option for passengers. A proposal for this was tabled at the BEST monthly committee meeting.

The proposal also mentions the inclusion of new ticketing machines at bus stops and also equipping BEST conductors with the ability to swipe debit/credit cards for tickets. It’s unclear how a situation like this will be handled during peak hour commute in the city. The authorities have also proposed merging with payment providers like PhonePe and PayPoint to offer additional payment options to commuters.

While there’s still no word on when the plan will be implemented, a senior BEST official said: “Presently BEST is suffering huge crisis in man-power hence the introduction of digital payment will ease the burden of having the number of conductors on service.”

A recent proposal which sought the hiring of 400 conductors on a contract basis has been struck down by BEST Committee Chairman Anil Patankar. A member of the committee and Corporator, Bhushan Patil (INC) mentioned that the idea to hire 400 conductors on a contract basis is expected to incur losses to the agency rather than boost its finances.

Other members of the committee claimed that they were not informed about this decision, which ultimately led to the Committee Chairman scrapping the project altogether. 

Another report yesterday talked about the State Government asking BEST to provide two buses for setting up mobile canteens across the city. This would be an extension of the Government’s “Shiv Bhojan” meal plan which offers thalis at just Rs 10. BEST authorities have also talked about hiring women drivers while introducing a new fleet of electric buses for the city. 

Despite the setbacks, BEST appears to be surrounded by temporary solutions to crawl out of its financial crisis. But will it be enough to curb its massive losses? Only time can tell. 

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