Most attempts made by the Central Railway (CR) to limit the number of people queuing up at ticket windows in railway stations seem to have fallen flat. However, the Jansadharan Ticket Booking Sevaks (JTBS) scheme introduced by the Ministry of Railways in 2008 is steadily becoming popular with passengers. According to numbers reflecting in the system, there has been a four per cent increase in the ticket purchase graph between March and October this year. Earlier, the rate of ticket purchase from these centres was a mere one per cent.
Currently, CR has around 100 JTBS centres set up at 73 railway stations, and as the scheme is going as expected, this number will be increased to 200 shortly. JTBS charge each passenger Rs 1 extra, irrespective of destination, and though these centres were not authorised to sell platform tickets earlier, they now have been given the go-ahead.
However, the cost of a platform ticket was increased from Rs 3 to Rs 5 in May this year. JTBS now issue regular tickets, renew season tickets and sell platform tickets.
These centres are opened on contract-basis for a period of three years and if performance is satisfactory, the term can be further extended. Applicants should be able to pay a Rs 5,000 refundable deposit and furbish a bank guarantee of Rs 20,000, and cost of setting up a centre is borne by the applicant.
“There has been a four percent increase from the earlier one percent on rate of purchase at JTBS from March to October,” said Atul Rane, senior deputy commercial manager. Each day on average, around nine to 10 lakh card tickets are sold, excluding season passes. Of these, 6 lakh are sold through ticket windows, 2 lakh through CVM coupons and 1 lakh through ATVM and JTBS. Over 38 lakh passengers commute by CR local trains every day.
Mukesh Nigam, divisional railway manager, CR, said, “We are going to increase the number of JTBS at more stations. Passengers can buy tickets directly from the JTBS instead of standing in long queues.”