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)

Common transport ticketing card likely for Mumbai

Part two of the city’s experiment for a common transport ticketing card, on the lines of London’s Oyster Card or Hong Kong’s Octopus card, has just begun. The Indian railways has promised to come to the city’s rescue for this project, after the failure of the ‘Go Mumbai’ card, the city’s much-promised common transport card.

The Railways has already embarked on a project to convert the railway ticketing smart card into a city transport card, to be used on several applications. In Delhi, trials have begun with the Delhi Metro.

The railway card, called the Automatic Ticket Vending Machine (ATVM) card, has been a hit with Mumbai’s seven million commuters, and has been extensively used by new and existing commuters.

“We understand the importance of making smart cards work across different modes of transport. In Mumbai, this requires some upgradation of technology, and the Railway Board is likely to take a decision soon,” said Madhav Pathak, managing director, Centre for Railway Information Systems (CRIS) in New Delhi. CRIS is the national IT arm of the Indian Railways.

“In Delhi, the ATVM system is being introduced with the capability of multiple applications being supported, and CRIS is collaborating with the Delhi Metro Railway Corporation on this,” Pathak added. “More than five percent of the passengers on central railways (CR) already use our smart card. We are identifying novel methods to promote it,” CR chief spokesperson SC Mudgerikar said.