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Buoyed by a 12 per cent surge in the number of reserved tickets being booked digitally, the Railways on Thursday said passengers can now book their tickets on an app called BHIM. Ticket buyers can use the Bharat Interface for Money (BHIM) app from Friday Mohd Jamshed, Member, Traffic, Railway Board, said. Before demonetisation, around 58 per cent of reserved tickets were booked online. The number has risen to 70 per cent since October 2016, he said. BHIM or UPI (Unified Payments Interface) promoted by Prime Minister Narendra Modi post demonetisation facilitates instant fund transfers between two bank accounts on a mobile platform. Details of the beneficiaries bank account are not needed for this. The transport behemoth has seen a surge in digital payments since October 2016 through e-tickets, but at counters, only 2-3 per cent transactions are cashless. "Around 3-5 crore people in the reserved (ticket) category have migrated towards digital transactions through e-ticketing.
At the counters, around 30 per cent passengers buy reserved tickets. We have installed card swiping machines for debit or credit cards," he said. But the Railways wanted to find a way to help passengers who did not wish to carry card or cash, but just their phones, he said. "So we are starting UPI from tomorrow. The passenger can go to the counter with their handsets and get their reserved tickets," he said. Reserved tickets worth around Rs 80 crore are bought through e-ticketing daily while tickets worth Rs 30 crore are purchased from counters at railway stations, Jamshed said.