Though far from perfect, the temporary solution seems to have brought the much-needed respite for travellers wanting to purchase tickets for long-distance journeys. The authorities have asked commuters wanting to book tickets using the Tatkal system to sit on the floor instead of standing in the queue for long hours.
The temporary solution was implemented since April 25. By doing so, the authorities managed to curb chaos and arguments at ticket counters between those buying tickets in Tatkal and general category. Those wanting to avail tickets using Tatkal system have been asked to sit from 8 am to 10 am, time allotted to travellers for buying tickets in general category.
Before the solution was implemented, arguments were reported at ticket counters between people buying tickets under Tatkal and general category. The former would get irked as they were made to wait in queues along with those wanting to buy tickets in general category since 4 am. Some of the commuters said just two officials distributing tokens had slowed down the process and would create confusion among ticket buyers.
Chief Reservation Superintendent R P Pande said, “Considering the complaints and media reports, we realised that those wanting to buy tickets under Tatkal category had to unnecessarily wait in queues till 10 am when the actual bookings under Tatkal would start after that. We have now started issuing tokens to such people at 7.30 am, much before they reached the ticket window. We ask them to sit on the clean floor before each of the booking counters.
Between 8 am and 10 am we cater to people buying tickets in general category. So far we have received a positive response from the commuters.”
Aslam Shaikh, a railway police personnel, said, “Earlier, it would become impossible to control a crowd of about 600-strong. Petty arguments would culminate into fights. The new system saves time, as it differentiates commuters applying for Tatkal bookings from those seeking reservations in general category.”
Shyam Nimje, Tatkal ticket seeker for Pune-Nagpur journey, said, “Though sitting on floor is irritating, but at least it is better than standing. One has to be alert while tokens are being distributed because it is impossible to get tickets if you miss out on tokens.” Ramkumar Kad, seeking a Tatkal ticket for Pune-Patna route, said, “Verification of ID proof takes time, otherwise it is okay to sit in the queue instead of standing.”
President of Railway Pravasi Group Harsha Shah said, “The system has limitations, but it is better than the previous one. Earlier, commuters used to run away noticing chaos and serpentine queues at counters. Railway officials do have a vision, but it is seldom visible.” Railway spokesperson Y K Singh said, “We are planning to up the number of benches for senior citizens or commuters having difficulty in sitting on the floor, otherwise the system is fine.”