L Mamta, a 20-year-old engineering student has been standing in the ATM queue for nearly three hours, before she could get hold of one Rs. 2,000 note. But she has not been able to get a bus as no one is willing to give her change.
In desperation, she has called her friend to bail her out. Mamta was just returning from her tuition class.
“Which bus conductor will give me change for Rs. 2,000?” she rues.
With most ATMs still facing a shortage of Rs 100 and Rs 500 notes and dispensing only Rs 2000 notes, customers like Mamta are a harried lot.
While she needs to manage her other expenses for the next 10 days with that Rs. 2,000 note, she prefers not to spend it on cabs.
“Cabs are expensive, though it is easier to travel by cabs as you can just travel without cash, but always it is not possible,” Mamta says.
Though Telangana State Road Transport Corporation (TSRTC) buses have been accepting Rs. 500 and Rs. 1,000 notes, a few people are still struggling to get change.
“On the first few days, we faced a loss of Rs. 60 lakh, but we have been accepting old notes so that people don't face inconvenience,” says G R Kiran, a spokesperson for TSRTC.
However, most of the daily commuters have switched to monthly bus passes so as to ease the problem of change, he adds.
“We have seen 20% increase in monthly bus pass registration this month,” says the official.
“I travel daily from Uppal to Ameerpet. The first few days after the currency ban, I faced difficulty as I had Rs. 500 and the conductors were out of change. But now I have purchased the monthly bus pass and even if I forget my wallet, I can at least reach back home,” says Vijaya, another engineering student.
She mentions that many of her friends have switched to monthly passes even though they don’t travel regularly.
Similar is the case with Ankita Mishra, a resident of Dilsukhnagar.
“I travel twice a week, only on weekends to visit my relative, but now I am using the monthly pass of Rs. 800 so that I don’t have to struggle for change. Though it seems expensive but now at least I won’t fight for change in the bus,” Ankita says.
However, while many commuters have been using monthly pass, other commuters who travel weekly, face the problem of change.
While most of the ATMs in the city are out of cash, people are also moving towards cabs and online transactions.
Mohammad Naseer, who currently works for a BPO company mentions that he has been standing in ATM queues for the past two days but could only get Rs. 2,000 notes every time. “There are no Rs. 500 or Rs. 100 notes available in most of the ATMs,” he says.
Gautam, who is a customer care professional, says, “I usually prefer bus but for the past few days, I have been using cabs. I can book one seat in the cab through Ola share which will be cheaper than booking the whole cab and also I can pay online. This way I don’t have to worry about change and also I can keep the cash and use it later.”