Seat availability in trains to be made public at Madurai

MADURAI: In an attempt to bring in more transparency in reservation of seats and berths in trains, the Madurai Division of Southern Railway has decided to make public the availability position of reserved accommodation till 10 minutes before the departure of trains at their originating stations.

Reservation of seats and berths closes on preparation of the reservation chart, usually, four hours prior to the departure of trains. However, the seats/berths that go unreserved and those cancelled after the chart is prepared are sold through the current reservation counters.

Passengers can access the details of accommodation availability through Internet, SMS and telephone till the chart is prepared. But once the chart is prepared, passengers have to depend only on those manning the current reservation counter (CRC) to know the exact number of vacant seats and berths.

“There seems to be some mistrust between the passengers and those issuing current tickets. Some passengers express disbelief when the clerk says that there is no vacancy in reserved coaches,” Additional Divisional Railway Manager T. Venkatasubramanian told The Hindu.

Availability of reserved accommodation in Pandiyan Express and the Vaigai Express will be displayed on two plasma television sets kept at the concourse hall of the Madurai railway station. “Even those vacancies arising out of cancellation (after chart is prepared) which are available on the railway network at CRC on a real time basis will be displayed,” he said. Work is under way to introduce this facility.

Passengers will be able to find the number of vacancies in each class till 10 minutes before the departure of trains. The facility, to be made available at Tirunelveli, Tuticorin and Tenkasi railway stations also for those express trains originating from there, is expected to do away with the tout menace.

Besides, the division has introduced display of real-time location of running trains on television sets. “People can see the exact location of trains and their expected time of arrival at Madurai up to four hours in advance,” Senior Divisional Signal and Telecommunication Engineer Budati Srinivasalu said.

People need to necessarily use the touch screen facility to spot the trains. “The details of trains that are running even in other divisions will be displayed,” Mr. Venkatasubramanian said. This facility will be extended to Tirunelveli, Tuticorin and Dindigul railway stations.

http://www.hindu.com/2009/12/12/stories/2009121257110100.htm

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