Commuters, who depended on facilitators of Central Railway (CR), will now have to queue up at booking windows to buy tickets. The Railway Board has withdrawn its permission for railway employees to sell tickets to passengers through the Automatic Ticket Vending Machines (ATVMs) from June 25. ATVMs cater to 30 per cent of the daily 40 lakh commuters, and the Board’s directive is likely to bring a sharp drop in ATVM tickets to overall ticketing.
According to sources, the Board has observed that employees working as facilitators tend to compromise on their own work. The Board also noted that since ATVMs are automatic, there is no need for human interface. “It is important to note thatmuch of sales of tickets through ATVMs was due to facilitators. Now, the queues at booking windows will increase,” said a senior railway officer.
An officer said, “We also expect sale of coupon booklets to increase dramatically.” Western Railway (WR) has not implemented the scheme on its suburban section. Over 85 per cent of railway tickets sold through ATVMs was through facilitators between June 1 and June 25, while on an average their contribution to ATVM ticket sale has remained at 70 per cent. Between June 1 and 25, of the 6.23crore tickets sold by ATVMs, 5.23crore were sold through facilitators. Of the total 704 facilitators, 604 are railway employees.
The railway staff is only allowed to sell tickets on off-duty hours. On June 25, the Smart cards of these 604 employees were withdrwan by the railway administration. On Central Railway, while 54 per cent tickets are sold by Unreserved Ticket System (UTS), commonly the booking windows, 30 per cent is through ATVMs, 12 per cent by Jan Sadharan Ticket Booking Sewaks (JTBS) and 4 per cent by coupons. The share of ATVM to overall ticketing grew from 7 percent in January 2011 to 24 per cent in December 2011 with the start of the facilitator scheme on January 1, 2011.
Till 2011, ATVMs contributed five per cent to overall ticketing.