Barely two years after procuring machines for issuing electronic bus tickets to commuters,the Brihanmumbai Electric Supply & Transport (BEST) undertaking has started receiving complaints of breakdowns and malfunctions in the machines.
In the past eight months,the BEST has been getting such complaints nearly on a daily basis from depots such as Oshiwara,Goregaon,Dindoshi,Anik and Pratiksha Nagar,BEST panel members said.
Every depot has about 400 such machines,of which about 60-70 are malfunctioning,they said.
Almost 99 per cent of BEST ticketing transactions are performed using these machines. Conductors and depot officials have complained of several problems with the machines. In some cases,when the conductor presses the button for a Rs 5 ticket,the machine registers a Rs 165 ticket, said Shiv Senas Sunil Ganacharya,a member of the BEST committee.
When the machine is taken to cash counter,at the end of the day,the amount payable on an average is generally not more than Rs 5,000-6,000. But there was one case when the machine showed ticket sales of Rs 76,000. These kind of incidents also lead to disagreements between the depot officials and conductors, Ganacharya said.
The complaints also pertain to the long time the machine takes to switch on and how at other times it breaks down in the middle of a transaction.
The machines also take about four to five seconds longer to print tickets than the conventional way of giving out paper tickets.
BEST panel members said due to these problems,several commuters walk away without purchasing a ticket and the undertaking,which has been in the red for several years,ends up losing a significant amount of revenue.
Trimax IT Infrastructure & Services Ltd,with whom the BEST had signed a contract in 2010 for the provision of electronic ticketing infrastructure,provides the public transport utility with the machines.
We should talk to Trimax about deploying at least one of its officials at every depot for maintenance of these machines, said Congress Ravi Raja,a member of the BEST committee.
General Manager O P Gupta said BEST will ensure more forceful pre-testing of these machines and will look at having bus-mounted ticketing systems to avoid wear and tear that handheld systems have to go through.