This Is Why Rail Passengers Are Still Using Cash For Booking Tickets: 3 Interesting Reasons!
Southern Railway conducted a unique survey of those passengers, who are visit counters at reservation centres to book tickets.
Among all Govt. functionaries, Indian Railways has been the one which has adopted and encouraged digital transactions the most. They introduced the IRCTC’s online ticket bookings, and right now, they have India’s largest e-commerce portal in the form of IRCTC.co.in.
But still, Railways officials have found that cash transactions over the counter for booking tickets isn’t slowing down.
They wondered, what exactly is the reason?
In order to figure out why cash is the king at counters, Southern Railway conducted a unique survey of those passengers, who are visit counters at reservation centres to book tickets.
This survey was conducted at reservation counters at Chennai Central, Egmore, Mambalam, Madurai, Coimbatore and Salem.
2/3rd of the respondents were aged between 21 to 45 age group, 61% had a smartphone with an active Internet connection using which, they could have booked a ticket via IRCTC website or app, easily.
Hence, a majority were young Internet users, and are used to surfing the web.
Then why cash?
Some very interesting reasons were revealed:
Humans Prefer Humans For Booking Tickets
Several respondents replied that they visit counters because they are habitual of that. They will simply walk over the counter, interact with a human (booking clerk), enquire few trains, and then book the tickets.
It seems human interaction is a catalyst here, rather than the ease of booking tickets online.
An official said,
“Many passengers find it comfortable to interact with a human (counter clerk) than a computer. They can easily request for a particular berth or change in the train to the clerk, rather than going back to the home page of the IRCTC website,”
Now, this is a factor which digitalization cannot solve.
It will take years before a habit is altered, and it seems that cash-based counter tickets are powerfully embedded habit for some.
The Curious Case Of Auto-Cancellation Of Waiting Tickets
Online tickets which are wait-listed are cancelled automatically, as soon as the chart is prepared. Now, if you travel with such online tickets which are not confirmed, the TT will declare you ‘Without Ticket’, and charge hefty penalty as well.
On the other hand, a counter ticket or physical ticket is not cancelled, even if it is not confirmed, and the passenger can at least travel in an emergency.
This was one of the reasons why some passengers preferred counter tickets.
The Biggest Reason: Service Charge On eTickets
But, the survey found that the biggest reason is additional charges like service fee on eTickets. Indian Rail is even charging money to add money into their new wallet, and then again charging for using that wallet money to book tickets.
Although special offers do sometimes pull back the additional service fees and charges for online booking, the fact is, this additional charge for using net banking or debit card or credit card to book train tickets is proving to be a major deterrent for adopting digital payments for train bookings.
The findings of the survey will be shared with higher Railway Officials, to figure out plans for boosting cashless travel.
Why do you use cash, instead of online bookings? Do let us know by commenting right here!