In a finding that possibly will surprise many – more than half of the train tickets in India are purchased in cash. And this is not because the train travellers necessarily prefer it that way, but the sale of reserved train tickets through authorized agents (contributing an estimated half of reserved ticket sales) continues to be in cash. The primary cause for this is the dis-incentive eco-system which rewards cash while penalizing online transactions. This finding is based on a countrywide survey of consumers and ticketing agents.
The neighbourhood ticketing agent still continues to be the preferred choice for Indians looking to buy their train tickets. An estimated 65,000 of these small businesses are spread across the nook & corners of the country, representing the true grit of Indian entrepreneurs while battling all kinds of odds to keep themselves afloat. Their differentiators being around door-step service, local knowledge & customer relationships. Train ticket purchase involves a number of decisions, and travellers prefer to go through their trusted agents to do the job.
“A significant consumer section of India depends on managed services, especially when the complexity of their need is high. And because of the supply-demand mismatch & other uncertainties around train travel, ticket booking falls in this bucket. This has in turn led to the popularity of train ticket booking through these mom-and-pop travel agents.” says Manish Rathi Co-Founder & CEO, RailYatri.