Mumbai: CR to ring in New Year with trial for cellphone ticketing

Current system requires one to take a hard copy from ATVM after booking local ticket on mobile; Union railway ministry asks for a system where such a need is eliminated

The next fortnight or so will be crucial for the railway authorities, who will be busy monitoring the demand for the new mobile ticketing system for locals. Sources said that they have set up an internal deadline of 15 days to monitor the system, which was inaugurated by Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu on December 27.

With ATVMs for mobile tickets set up only at Dadar for a 15-day trial run, not many will be able to use the facility. File pic for representation
With ATVMs for mobile tickets set up only at Dadar for a 15-day trial run, not many will be able to use the facility. File pic for representation

Currently there is an option in the Automatic Ticket Vending Machines (ATVM) window for mobile ticketing, according to which once the ticket has been booked with a cell phone, a commuter needs to punch the mobile number and user ID on the ATVM to obtain the physical copy.

“Presently ATVMs conforming to mobile ticketing are placed only at Dadar station. Depending on the response we get from people we will expedite it at other stations as well,” said a Central Railway official on the condition of anonymity.

As per the process, people using mobiles to book tickets will have to take a hard copy from ATVMs that have been kept at Dadar station. The authorities are hopeful that since Dadar is one of the most crowded suburban railway stations, they can expect considerable demand for the mobile tickets.

Sources said that gradually all the ATVMs across Mumbai and its suburbs will have this provision. Initially this system has been launched at Dadar and will be implemented at Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, Kurla, Thane and Kalyan soon, and in a phased manner at the other stations.

But the railway authorities are looking to replace this semi-mobile booking, which requires one to purchase a copy from ATVMs, with fully mobile-based booking in future. In other words, they want to introduce something that allows people to simply show their ticket copy on cell phones, just as in long-distance trains and for flights.

“As part of the next phase we are looking at having a ticket reader that would directly scan the mobile ticket. However, it will take some time,” said Union Minister Prabhu.

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