The overflowing queues at unreserved ticket booking counters will soon be history at railway stations falling under the Bengaluru Railway Division as 58 ticket-vending kiosks and smart cards have now arrived to deliver your general tickets in an instant.
To be launched as part of the ‘Operation Five Minutes’ initiative announced in the Railway budget, assuring an unreserved ticket to any passenger within five minutes, Bengaluru City station will have 23 kiosks installed shortly, said Senior Divisional Commercial Manager (SDCM), Bengaluru Division, N S Sridhar Murthy.
“On an average, one lakh unreserved tickets are booked in the Bengaluru Division with number of passengers ranging between 2.2 to 2.5 lakhs daily. One-fourth of the tickets are booked at the City station,” Murthy said.
Unreserved tickets, monthly season tickets and platform tickets can be booked through these kiosks.
They are of two models: Automatic Ticket Vending Machines (ATVMs) and Cash/Smart Card Operated Ticket Vending Machines (COTVMs) and respond to three languages — Kannada, English and Hindi.
Tickets can be booked on the ATVM using a smart card, which will be made available at ticket-booking counters. A smart card will be priced Rs 50, which is a refundable deposit. It can be topped up with currencies of Rs 20, Rs 50, Rs 100 and higher denominations, the SDCM said. Both the smart card as well as cash currencies of all denominations can be used on the VTVM, he said.
“The ticket would look exactly like the one issued at counters with the only difference being the quality of paper used. The machines will use thermal paper (similar to receipts issued by ATMs),” Murthy said.
One machine has been sent to CRIS, the IT arm of Indian Railways, based in Chennai for testing now and the green signal to launch them is expected shortly. “It could be any time between a week and a month,” the SDCM said. “We have also sent all the data to be fed inside to them,” he added. The singalling and telecommunication work and electrical work to install them have all been completed inside the City station.
A total of 42 Automatic machines (Rs 1.48 lakh a piece) and 16 COTVMs (Rs 4.7 lakh a piece) have been procured.
City stations will have 8 COTVMs and 15 ATVMs, which will be positioned near the PRS centres and the concourse area of both the entrances.
After commencing operations in City station, it will be extended to the other stations one by one in this order of priority: Yeshwantpur (10 machines), Cantonment (6), K R Puram (5), Bangarpet (3) SSPN station (3), Hindupur (2), Hosur (2), Mandya (2) and Hosur (2).