Railway authorities seem to have finally woken up to the plight of the thousands of commuters who waste precious minutes every morning during rush hour, waiting in serpentine queues to buy tickets. The Central Railway (CR) authorities now plan to set up dozens of additional Automatic Ticket Vending Machines (ATVM) across 75 stations of the Harbour and Main Central line in the hope that tech-savvy Mumbai commuters use the machines instead of queuing up.
According to a study conducted by the CR authorities, a commuter on an average spends at least 20 minutes standing in queue to buy suburban rail tickets especially during morning and evening peak hours. Officials claim that, at times, depending on the station and hour of travel, people have to wait nearly 30 minutes just to procure a ticket. Translated, this means missing at least five consecutive local trains to his or her destination.
Power to the people
Taken together there are 475 ticket windows on the Main and Harbour lines of CR, where over 8,00,000 commuters buy tickets every day. This means nearly 1,650 people buy tickets from each counter every day across 75 railway stations. “We want to increase the number of ATVMs. We will also make railway passes available at selected shops. These shops will be officially allowed to sell passes ands tickets,” added the
At present CR has 252 ATVMs and plans to bring another 135 in a month’s time. The existing ATVMs are used by roughly 2,50,000 commuters every day. CR plans to install 900 machines across al their stations by March 2014.
The CR authorities also want to promote their JanSadharan Ticket Booking Sevaks (JTBS) scheme. In other words, these are officially designated medical and general stores that will be allowed to sell suburban rail tickets at a profit of Rs 1 over and above the ticket price.