The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation’s decision to make 10 of its stations cashless, by accepting payments and smart card recharges through Paytm or credit and debit cards, has left several commuters in a lurch. At MG Road Metro station, which is the only station in Gurgaon included in the scheme, commuters who were told, or had heard, about the switch seemed confused and unconvinced.
Javed (40), a tailor who travels to Delhi for work “once a week or once in two weeks”, was among those who were troubled by the announcement.
Stating that he always buys a token for his trips, Javed said, “I prefer not to buy a card because I don’t want to take the risk of putting money in it and then losing it. A token is safer.”
Javed said he pays for the tokens in cash as he has no bank account or a smartphone which he can use for online payment. “I do not know how I will manage if and when they make this switch. I guess I will decide then,” he said.
Not all commuters, however, were as optimistic about their ability to become tech savvy.
Ritu (52), a housewife from Chakkarpur, shares a bank account with her husband, who usually keeps the debit card. She uses the Metro at least “six or seven times a month”, when she goes to visit her daughter, who lives in Delhi. Although equipped with a smart card and a smartphone, Ritu said she is still struggling to understand how the latter works.
While she said she could learn how to use Paytm, she added, “Even if I was to learn, it would take me several weeks to have the confidence to be able to use it on my own, without supervision.”
Ritu said she has never used a debit card. “If my husband is there, maybe he could come and recharge my card for me at the MG Road station. Else I will have to take an auto to one of the other stations,” she said.
Commuters at some of the 10 Metro stations in Delhi also expressed similar apprehensions.
“I travel by Metro daily and I do not believe we can go cashless. Fifty per cent of the ridership is not up to date with technology. I don’t even have Paytm in my phone,” said Surjit Singh, branch head of a company in Tilak Nagar.