The long, winding queues to buy platform tickets in railway stations may soon start to shrink — the government is moving to make them available online.
The options under consideration include allowing platform tickets to be purchased via mobile phones or through the IRCTC portal, a Railways Ministry official told The Indian Express.
The acknowledgment of payment, which will be sent to the buyer’s mobile phone, can be shown to the personnel manning the gates at the stations, the official added. “IRCTC will be given the detailed modalities to be worked out once the Railway Board approves the proposal.”
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Officials are also studying the results of a trial run conducted by the South Western Railway in 2006 to introduce mobile phone-based platform tickets with vendors to be paid Rs 1 per ticket as revenue share.
While the cost of a platform ticket is low — Rs 10 each currently — officials expect the vendors to make up the difference through the high volume of transactions involved.
For instance, over 5 lakh passengers and nearly the same number of visitors use the New Delhi railway station that caters to 355 trains every day. Apart from making the process easier for buyers, the official said, the new move will also help regulate the rush on platforms.
“The price of a platform ticket is not a burden but what irks people is the trouble they have to undergo while buying them from counters. The clerks at these counters also have to issue tickets for unreserved coaches and this creates long queues during the day, particularly when a major train arrives or departs,” the official said.
“This often forces people to skip the exercise of buying platform tickets. This is illegal and also creates a dangerous situation of overcrowding on the platforms as the authorities have no control over the surging crowds,” he added.