Mumbai: Commuters get smart, but ATVMs slow them down

The Railways wants people to avoid queues, and use automatic ticket vending machines, but there are complaints about almost 10 per cent of the ATVMs every day

The Indian Railways wants the lakhs of people who use suburban locals to ‘be smart,’ not stand in queues, and use the automatic ticket vending machines (ATVMs). But while there is a growth in the number of people using ATVMs, the machines themselves are blocking the inclination towards them.

Also Read: Andheri 'smartest' station on Western Railway

A file picture of a non-functioning ATVM. Officials agree that even if the ATVM is not corrupted or under repairs it takes a lot of time to get the ticket
A file picture of a non-functioning ATVM. Officials agree that even if the ATVM is not corrupted or under repairs it takes a lot of time to get the ticket

mid-day on March 3 had reported in the report, ‘Andheri ‘smartest’ station on Western Railway,’ about the growing trend of people who have begun using ATVMs.

According to WR officials, there is a rise from 18 per cent to 22 per cent in the total number of ATVM users over a period of time. But the same machines are responsible for deterring the users. “Everyday we receive complaints about at least 8-10 per cent of the total ATVMs,” said Shailendra Kumar, Divisional Railway Manager (Mumbai), Western Railway.

Officials agreed that many a times people rush to the machines to get tickets faster, but even if the ATVMs are not corrupted or under repairs, it takes lot of time for getting the ticket.

The most common complaint is the direction of the arrow that the cursor takes, which makes it all the more frustrating.

Read Story: Rail commuters stuck with defunct ATVMs

There are more than 400 ATVMs on the Churchgate-Dahanu stretch and everyday the WR authorities get complaints of about 35-40 ATVMs.

Sources said that the life of these ticket vending machines is 6-7 years and many of them are in the process of being replaced. The authorities have also started placing retired railway staff as jan sadharan sewaks. The job of these people is to issue local tickets from ATVMs using their own smart card. They earn revenue on these transactions.

Sources said that there are more than 40 such people who work and sell tickets in a bid to curb queues at ticket counters. The authorities are also looking at installing a hot key, wherein the most travelled destination’s tickets shall be available at the click of a button.

As per the recent figures of WR, Andheri is the railway station where the number of passengers using ATVMs rose from 6,933 in April 2014-January 2015 to 18,316 in April 2015-January 2016.

All railway stations between Churchgate and Virar have seen over 100 per cent increase in ATVM sales, while five stations on the Virar-Dahanu route have recorded between a 60-100 per cent rise.

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