ALTHOUGH it remains a popular choice for people travelling between the two cities, the Pune-Mumbai taxi service is yet to go cashless. Of the three pre-paid booking centres run by the taxi association in the city, none is enabled with a POS system, so credit or debit cards can’t be used to book a cab.
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Officials of the association said they have applied for card swipe machines and expect to get them soon. Meanwhile, cab drivers are finding ways to work around the cash shortage; some of them ask the passenger to pay at fuel stations and toll plazas, where cashless options are available. “We insist that they pay the fare in cash. If they don’t have cash, we request them to use their cards at the petrol pumps. If there’s still some fare amount that they owe us, we ask them to pay that much in cash. One has to find some jugaad to make things work,” said Ismail Shaikh, who works at the prepaid booking centre run by the Association outside the Pune railway station.
Most passengers readily agree to the arrangement. “I have to pay them Rs 2,700 for the trip. If they don’t have cashless facilities, I don’t have any problem buying them fuel by using my card,” said Sunita Santhalia, a customer. Due to the shortage of cash, most passengers prefer to share a cab rather than hire a private one, said Shaikh. “If three passengers are sharing a cab, and one of them doesn’t have any cash, he can pay for the fuel with his card while others can pay the fare at the prepaid counter,” he said.
Salim Tamboli, general secretary of the Association, said they were going to procure POS machines. “We might get them in a couple of days… we are having trouble getting them as there’s a huge demand for these POS machines now,” said Tamboli.