Now, ATVMs outside stns too

The railways has decided to instal automated ticket vending machines (ATVM) on premises outside stations to reduce queues at booking windows.

Central Railway has already installed an ATVM at a post office in Vartak Nagar in Thane, which is the busiest railway station on the local suburban system. “There are also plans to instal ATVMs at Mantralaya, Navy Nagar and Tata Memorial Hospital,” said a senior CR official.

The coupon validating machines (CVM) are on their way out as the system was not linked to the unreserved ticket system servers, increasing the possibility of frauds. On CR, sale of CVM booklets has dropped drastically in the last one year mostly because commuters would have to stand in long queues at booking windows to buy them. Earlier, the CR had allowed outof-turn sale of these coupons. CR officials feel steps should be taken to popularize the smart card-operated ATVMs.

In 2007, CR had installed 175 ATVMs, and in 2012, procured 75 more. In 2013, CR bought 136 more machines. Of the older lot, it has decided to replace 48 ATVMs, while another 83 will be fixed.

CR has also decided allow sale of unreserved tickets through ATVMs for long-distance trains. “The machines will be installed at CST, LTT, Dadar and Kalyan stations. Often passengers miss their train because they are stuck in queues at booking offices. Allowing unreserved tickets of long-distance trains from ATVMs will provide a major relief to commuters,” a CR official said.

No more double halts at Thane station A s work on the extension of platform no.5 and 6 towards the Mumbai end of Thane station is complete, double halts to all Up and Down mail/express/ passenger trains have been stopped from Tuesday. While work on covering the platform along the extended portion is on, it will be completed on time.

Central Railway to set up 135 new, improved ticket vending machines soon

In an attempt to provide relief to passengers, the Central Railway is installing 135 new Automatic Ticket Vending Machines (ATVM) on the main and harbour line stations.

These new ATVMs will replace some of the old ATVMs, which often break down creating trouble for passengers. “We have already installed 92 new ATVMs, and rest other will be in place soon,” said a senior official of CR.

Due to frequent breakdowns in the last one year, passengers have stopped using ATVMs. Hence, CR officials are hoping that the new ATVMs will help to regain confidence of passengers and reduce queues on ticket windows.

According to railway sources, the newly procured ATVMs have been improved: While making the ATVM design more user-friendly, the railways have also tried to rectify its problems. For instance, the card reader slot was placed at a low level in the old ATVMs, making it difficult for passengers to place and remove cards. In new machines, the slot is placed higher.

The railway board has already set March 2014 as the deadline to phase out Coupon Vending Machines (CVM), which has so far been the most popular alternative for suburban tickets after booking windows. Before phasing CVMs out, the railways want a sufficient number of ATVMs in place to replace them.

The official said that within six months they are going to procure more 288 ATVMs. “Preparation of the tender document is under process and soon new tenders will be invited for those,” said the official.

In 2007, the railways introduced smart cards for the first time at these ATVMs. Since then, CR has installed 250 ATVMs on its suburban stations, of which 75 were installed last year.

ATVMs to be installed at stations to issue tickets

Soon, long queues in front of ticket counters of railway stations in the State will be a scene lost to time.

The Railways is installing Automatic Ticket Vending Machines (ATVM) in the stations to help passengers procure tickets for unreserved rail travel without actually having to stand in queues.

For this, ‘smart cards’ will be used for the first time in the State, which has been specially designed and developed by the Centre for Railway Information Systems.

The regular commuters will be the most benefitted by the ‘smart move’ of the Railways.

The ATVMs will be initially installed in Thiruvananthapuram Central and Ernakulam South railway stations. “Two ATVMs will be installed near the booking centres in these stations and the machines will minimise the chaos now being experienced at the booking centres,” Divisional Railway Manager Rajesh Agrawal told The Hindu.

Two more ATVMs each will later be installed at Kottayam, Aluva and Thrissur railway stations. All the 10 machines have arrived. The Railways have decided to extend the ATVMs after assessing the response.

The facility operates similar to the Automated Teller Machines. The commuters will have to purchase the ‘smart card’, place them in a slot on the ATVM, select the route and destination on the touch screen, and once the details are confirmed, a computer-printed ticket will be delivered. Once the ticket is issued, the money will automatically be debited from smart card.

The smart cards of the Railways will be available from the booking office and from the ‘facilitators’ who are to be roped in to manage the ATVMs. Retired employees below the age of 65 years from any department in the Southern Railway could join as facilitators. The process to select them is in the final phase. Although they will not get any remuneration, they could retain five per cent bonus on recharge of the smart card.

Five per cent extra on the total value of the smart card will have to be paid by those purchasing it. The smart cards could be topped up once the money gets exhausted with the purchase of the railway tickets.

The validity of the smart card and other details are being worked out by the Railways.

Depending on the response from commuters, the service of the facilitators will be made round-the-clock. “We will also ask the facilitators to extend help to the commuters on how to use the ATVMs,” Mr. Agrawal said.

Coupons with bar codes for train travel

Commuter-friendly coupon validation machines (CVMs) on suburban railway stations, will continue to be available for commuters. Railway authorities have managed to integrate the CVMs with its Unreserved Ticketing system (UTS) with the help of the bar-code system.

There are around 575 CVMs, of which, around 350 are on Central Railway, and 225 are on Western Railway.
The Railway Board had announced that CVMs will be phased out and replaced with Automatic Ticketing Vending Machines (ATVMs) from March next year.

It had also stated that it will allow CVMs to continue only if the machines were linked and integrated with the UTS system.

The Western Railway has finally developed a CVM that works well with the bar-code mechanism.

The WR, with help from CRIS, is now developing an ‘exchange protocol’, which may take up to 45 days, said Mahesh Kumar, WR general manager.

Kumar explained that there will be a bar-code on each coupon and a bar-code reader installed inside every machine.

Linked to a computer, the CVM will read bar code on coupon while validating coupon and will sent the details to computer. The computer will send the data to the UTS server.

“While issuing coupons at ticket windows, we will swap those. This way, details of sold coupons will be available with us,” he said.

Kumar added that 158 more CVMs will be installed on WR’s suburban stations.

Smart card for train journey on Howrah and Mumbai routes

Passengers will soon be able to use smart cards for buying train tickets on the busy Delhi-Howrah and Delhi-Mumbai routes and also in the Kolkata Metro.

“A pan-India multi-purpose smart card is going to be launched by railways in two most sought after routes on a pilot basis shortly and the modalities are being worked for it,” said a senior Railway Ministry official involved in the project.

Aptly named Go-India card, it can be used for booking tickets for long distance and sub-urban trains on Delhi-Mumbai and Delhi-Horwah routes.

Asked whether the scheme will be extended to other routes, officials said, “the pilot project is for one year and depending on the response we will decide for its extension on other routes”.

The Go-India card proposal, as announced in the Rail Budget 2011-12, will be implemented in two phases.

“While in the first phase it will allow the passenger to buy train tickets in the Delhi-Kolkata and Delhi-Mumbai routes, Kolkata Metro will be included in the second phase,” he said.

One can book reserved and unreserved tickets using the Go-India card at booking counters, automatic ticketing vending machines (ATVM) and also through the Internet.

All major stations like Kanpur, Allahabad and Dhanbad in Delhi-Howrah route and Baroda and Surat in Delhi-Mumbai sector will have facilities for using Go-India card.

The Centre for Railway Information System (CRIS), the IT arm of railways, is making the software for the smart card.

“We will sign an agreement with a nationalised bank shortly to make the Go-India card operational,” the official said adding, “our aim is to make booking of tickets for train journey a hassle-free exercise for the passenger as this will act as a single window package for long distance, sub-urban and metro journeys.”

Coin vending machines at stations soon

To tackle the problem of shortage of coins at ticket booking counters, the railway board has allowed public sector banks to install coin vending machines (CVM) at select stations.

A railway official said, “Passengers will be able to exchange currency notes for coins. The board has permitted zonal railways to allow all public sector banks to install CVMs at booking offices. Banks will be given permission on first come first serve basis, but preference will be given to SBI.”

The magnitude of problem, the railway has decided to charge a nominal one time license fee of Rs 1 for allowing the use of space for installation of machine. Even electricity supply will be provided free of cost but banks will have to ensure that requisite amount of coins are available in machines, at all times, he added.

The bank will be able to install machines at location identified by divisions. The official said, “At A-I category stations, a maximum of four CVMS will be allowed while in other category stations only two such machines will be permitted in booking offices.”

This decision has been taken in view of problem of loose change at booking counters.

A WR official said, “It will help overcoming the shortage of coins at the booking office. It will also reduce arguments between booking clerks and the commuter on account of shortage of loose coins at the counters.”

Efforts are under way to deploy coin-operated Automatic Ticket Vending Machine (ATVM) to reduce queues at booking windows on Mumbai suburban railway stations.

As of now, smart card operated ATVM are present on both Central Railway (CR) and Western Railway (WR). However, these machines have not proved as much popular as was anticipated because of being less user friendly when compared with Coupon Validating Machines (CVMs)

Railways facilitate oldest SMART card user.

Western Railway facilitated Ms Sayali Phadke, student for using the ATVM Smart Card right from the time when it was launched. Shri G.S. Banerjee, Chief Commercial Manager, Western Railway presented Ms Sayali a beautiful replica of the oldest Steam Locomotive ‘Fairy Queen’ and ‘Western Railway – Heritage Traditions & Legend’ published by Western Railway as mementoes.

On this occasion, Shri Banerjee said that at present 109 ATVMs are working o­n WR’s Mumbai Suburban Section and it is planned to procure 130 more ATVMs for the convenience of commuters. Ms Sayali Phadke hailed WR’s efforts to popularise use of ATVMs. She said that buying tickets through ATVM smart cards is very convenient and easy. She said that it saves a lot of her valuable time.

WR introduced ATVMs o­n 10th October, 2007 and her smart card was bought o­n the same day. Ms Sayali has been using this card for commuting regularly o­n Western & Central lines. She appealed to the commuters to use smart cards to avoid queues and to get their journey tickets conveniently.,4,268

Published in: on April 15, 2011 at 4:28 pm  Comments (1)  
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Innovative move to promote use of Ticket vending machines.

While most of their colleagues head home after work or enjoy lunch hour with their group of friends, there is a 100-odd bunch of Central Railways (CR) men who have been doing a certain kind of overtime that has not only helped reduce serpentine ticket queues but, surprisingly, also helped curb vandalism at automatic vending ticket machines (ATVMs).

Like 34-year-old Santosh Kambli, a railway luggage clerk (Grade C) who voluntarily dons the garb of a facilitator at Ulhasnagar station. Kambli said he does not work for the additional money— Rs 5 additional value that one gets per every Rs 100 card—but to give back something to the railways. He said the need for commuters to understand how easily and quickly smart cards work pushes him to put in two-three hours before or after duty everyday.

His method is simple: Wait at ATVMs and approach people in queues. They are apprehensive at first, but ease up after seeing their identity cards.

“I even show people who do not know how to use a card; the overall response is positive,” he said. Kambli sold the highest tickets among the 112 facilitators on Sunday (624 tickets; earning Rs 9,670).
Chief commercial manager Z A Siddiqui said of the 269 staffers who applied, 119 were chosen of which 112 are active. For ATVMs, where more than one person applied, the candidate was chosen through a lottery. Siddiqui said in future, CR’s aim is to rope in retired railway staff. “It would be a win-win situation.”

He added there have been no complaints through sms feedback or the complaint books against these facilitators. “We monitor the day-to-day work done by the facilitators. Also, if a smart card holder wants to use the ATVM, he is given priority,” he said. In 2009-10, CR sold around 15,000 ATVM cards per month. The number has grown to more than 18,000 per month this fiscal. Also, till December this year CR has sold 1.62 lakh ATVM cards as opposed to 1.80 lakhs last year.

CR found that fewer machines are being damaged. “Out of the 175 on the suburban line, 163 were functional yesterday.”

Published in: on February 12, 2011 at 2:51 pm  Leave a Comment  
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