Central Railway (CR) commuters lining up to get tickets from those manning the Automatic Ticket Vending Machines (ATVM) at stations will now have to opt for other ticketing ways. The railway authorities have withdrawn the services of the employees who issued tickets to travellers from the ATVMs via their smart cards.
The ATVM attendants helped nearly 6 lakh commuters get tickets daily, and the latter will now have to endure standing in lines again. File pic
These facilitators assisted those who were uncomfortable operating their smart cards, or those who didn’t want to stand in lines at the counters. As per a circular issued by the Railway Board, it has withdrawn all group ‘C’ and ‘D’ staff around 600 in strength who were working as ticket facilitators.
“The Railway Board has passed this order and, so, we are simply following it,” said a senior CR official on condition of anonymity. Officials claim that it was difficult to keep a check on the transactions and the number of tickets sold through the ATVM vendors the main reason for the move.
The authorities, however, agree that these facilitators did reduce queues at the ticket counters. Around 6 lakh people bought tickets from the ATVM attendants daily. There there were nearly 600 facilitators who worked in shifts to man the 382 ATVMs at the various stations, after completing their official working hours at CR offices.
On every recharge of a smart card, the facilitators received a 5 per cent bonus value on the total amount that was credited to their card. This additional amount was then treated as their commission, while commuters were availing the service free of charge.
“We have retained around 85 retired CR employees who may still work as facilitators,” said another CR official. With the absence of these facilitators, the burden on ticket counters is sure to increase. “The attendants have until now helped in increasing ticket sales through ATVMs,” said Narendra Patil, chief public relations officer, CR.