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Sunday, August 10, 2014

Value of a coin

All of my friends in Bangalore would have traveled in BMTC city buses. And at least once they would have had a bad experience that the conductor writes the remaining amount behind your ticket and finally you end up not taking it back from him. I have experienced this many times and sometimes ended up losing big amounts. If we give 100 rupee not for a 12 rupee ticket, conductor writes the whole remaining 88 rupees behind the ticket. And customers usually forget it in a hurry to get down. And this cunning guys take advantage of it. They make a very big amount like this by EOD. Or if you are in Kerala say Cochin and you are traveling in any of the buses in the early morning hours with a 100 rupee note for a less than 10 rupees distance. You would have definitely got scoldings from conductor in a very bad manner.

Who is responsible for this? You people would blame those conductors. How would they be responsible? Definitely some are taking advantage of the situation. But the real problem lies somewhere else. The bank ATM kiosks we have disburses only 100 rupee notes or above. And therefore normal citizens don't have change with them for small purchases and they are forced to change this 100 rupee somewhere. Some prefer to do it in buses in which they travel everyday and does the first financial transaction of the day. There lies the problem. How you think a bus conductor can provide change to hundreds of passengers boarding his bus daily? How much of coins and small value notes he should carry? Would he prefer that? Consider that he does that and gives you change today. But what you will do? You will give all those 1 or 2 rupee coins to a begger on the road side or finally reaching home you will put all those coins aside or in your kunji (the small saving box). Because you don't want to carry heavy coins with you. And again next day you approach the conductor with a fresh 100 rupee note. Think over. Aren't you doing this?

There can be another opinion that it's the job of the conductor to keep proper change with him so that he can serve the passengers. But there should be a source of coins for them. I have seen some hotels and retailers sourcing coins. They get it from the beggars on a regular basis and stock in huge amount. Should conductors also do this? Another option is to get it from banks. But even the local bank they could approach also won't have so much in stock i think. Government has minted coins more than that is required, but all of them lies unusable to common man. Because some people don't want to carry weight and put them aside, huge amounts lies with beggars and other coin stockists like hotels & retail vendors.

What is the solution? It's not fair to demand that conductors should keep change for serving this huge number of customers. We all should take the responsibility for circulating the coins minted by the government. Should be ready to carry change. Whoever has change with them should tender the same to take tickets and passengers without change should be served by the conductor. But still I think there would be scarcity of coins. Bank ATM's should give options to enter what set of notes a customer require. Say in 1000s, 500s, 100s, 50s, and 10s. Banks should also facilitate coin disbursement kiosks along with their ATM's so that citizens can get change and thereby this can solve the problem which we are discussing in this blog. 

Any other opinions are welcome. Do comment


  1. Practical solution is smart ticket!

    1. What you meant by smart ticket? How can it be a possible solution?

    2. Well, smart ticket is an electronic means to pay the bus fare. It is very common in All developed countries. You can purchase a card for a certain amount of money and swipe it as you would do with your credit card, in a card reader as you enter the bus. Same card could be used on train as well. No coins, no head aches. It was common, before almost quarter a century in Singapore, I remember.

    3. I do agree to this sir...But its only possible in cities. Even BMTC was planning to bring this as a PILOT project in Bangalore. But dono why later on they went back to the same monthly pass system.

      What do you think about rural places? Or about people who use public transport once in a while (once in a week) to go to town for buying houshold consumables? Is this option viable for them? Is the option viable for remote villages in India?

  2. Beggars dont actually save, I've heard. There are professional beggars, who smuggle this coin material outside the country, where it is melted and used for other purposes...Indian five-rupee coins being turned into razors in Bangladesh (http://www.moneylife.in/article/indian-five-rupee-coins-being-turned-into-razors-in-bangladesh/2861.html) Actually, one idea that could have been used was to use a coin atm, that can give you coins for the money option entered. For that, atm would have to differentiate between the coins. But the coins are more or less the same. Here's why: http://www.quora.com/Reserve-Bank-of-India-RBI/Why-are-the-new-Indian-Re-1-Rs-2-Rs-5-coins-the-same-size....

  3. Daily & Monthly pass will also help and gives an overall discount also for daily commuters.

  4. start using smart card on public transport sytems. I know it will be tough at first, but I think that would be the easiest way to go and also to avoid money falling into wrong hands and of course all thanks to Electronics :D

    1. Harish... Possible only in cities man... Think about rural places and passengers who dont use public transport frequently. I dont want my money to get locked in the card...


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