The cash/coin-operated automatic ticket vending machine (ATVM) has evoked lukewarm response from suburban railway commuters on Central Railway (CR). A 30 per cent drop has been reported in the number of tickets sold from May to June on the only machine installed at Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST).
However,unlike Western Railway (WR) where similar machines faced repeated snags CR has not reported any glitch. WR has discontinued cash/coin-operated ATVMs,which were installed at Churchgate station in 2012 on a trial basis.
Except for instances where wet notes were rejected by the machine,no snag has been reported in the ATVM, said Atul Rane,chief public relations officer,CR.
Asked about the drop in numbers,Rane said,Since the technique of purchasing tickets is different,we have posted one person near the machine and another to counsel commuters standing in queues to use the new ATVM from 10 am to 7 pm. However,on certain days manpower was not available and the machine was not used as commuters have still not become acquainted with the system.
The machine was installed in May. A total of 5,583 tickets were sold in May,which dropped to 3,897 in June. On an average,in May,242 tickets were sold per day while in June it fell to 195. Maximum number of tickets were sold between 3 pm and 4 pm every day in May (1,128) and June (967).
In addition to purchasing season tickets,commuters can buy platform tickets,renew season passes and recharge ATVM smart cards. The only limitation is that commuters have to tender the exact change. Also coins of Rs 2 are not accepted. All other coins and notes of Rs 10,20,50,100 and 500 are accepted.
Neel Bagchi,a commuter who purchased a ticket from the machine,said: I think it is a good option as against standing in a queue. While I noticed that not everyone is comfortable putting cash inside the machine,in the long run people will prefer such ticketing machines.