Kolkata, May 25: The familiar scenes of commuters arguing with conductors in Kolkata buses over short change may soon be a thing of past as the bus operators have now hit upon the idea of handing out coupons, or "due slips" with holograms, in lieu of change.
Faced with an acute shortage of coins, operators on select routes would give these slips to the passengers. These will contain the amount of change to be refunded, the bus number, as well as the routes on which they can be availed.
"A lot of authorisations are required for the slips to be introduced. We are hoping that we will be able to start issuing due slips by June this year," Sadhan Das of Joint Council of Bus Syndicate told IANS.
Das said the due slips would be introduced initially in 30 odd routes across the city and, depending on their success, they may be extended to other routes as well.
The innovative idea has, however, evoked mixed response among commuters. Some are game for it, while others somewhat apprehensive.
"It surely is an innovative idea. But unless it is tried, we cannot judge its efficiency. Moreover, chances of counterfeiting or the slips getting misplaced are high," a commuter said.
Allaying fears of counterfeiting of the coupons, bus operator Somen Pal said: "All the coupons will come with a special hologram to prevent duplication."
Operators are hoping the introduction of due slips would help them reduce the cost of operations.
"Operating a single bus on a normal day involves transaction of coins worth Rs.1,200-1,400. We are now spending around Rs.300-400 in getting the coins. We have taken this decision (due slips) to save ourselves as well as the trade," added Das.