A recent survey conducted by Southern Railway at ticket counters across Tamil Nadu and Kerala revealed a rather interesting thing – 35 per cent of tickets being bought were paid for in cash at counters. Looking to understand why this happened despite the penetration of smartphones, and availability of low-cost internet, 5,000 people across counters at Chennai Central, Chennai Egmore, Mambalam, Madurai Junction, Coimbatore Junction and Salem Junction were asked about the booking patterns.
Surprisingly, two-thirds of those who opted to buy a ticket using cash were aged between 21 and 41 – going against the perception that it would be senior citizens – who had smartphones. 61 per cent of them had smartphones and 90 per cent of them preferred to pay in cash.
While some said that they used to wait at counters out of habit, many said that during peak seasons and rush hour traffic, they preferred a printed ticket if it was waitlisted as they could still board the train. e-Tickets that are waitlisted get cancelled automatically.
The survey also revealed that several people chose to buy paper tickets because they were more comfortable dealing with a human across the counter. Several respondents stated that they didn’t want to pay bank and transaction charges for online bookings.
Officials have said that they plan to educate people on the R-wallet app that allows people to book unreserved tickets on the phone and also focus on installing automated ticket vending machines (ATVMs).
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