JTBS scheme a hit on CR

JAN Sadharan Ticket Booking Sewa (JTBS), the Railways’ outsourcing scheme, has shown substantial growth over the past year, with its share in total ticketing rising from one per cent in January 2012 to 11 per cent in January 2013 on Central Railway (CR). On Western Railway (WR), the scheme has been poorly received. While there are 141 JTBS centres on CR, there are are only four on WR in Mumbai division.

Though commuters have to pay a rupee extra while purchasing tickets from JTBS centres, many prefer this over long queues at ticket booking offices.

Mukesh Nigam, divisional railway manager, CR said, “JTBS counters in Thane, Mumbra, Kurla and Govandi sometimes sell over 10,000 tickets a day.”

Mukhtar Malim Kasam, a JTBS operator at Mumbra, said, “On weekends, 5,000-6,000 tickets are sold. On a regular day, we sell up to 3,000 tickets.” A ticket booking window sells a maximum of 3,000 tickets per day on both CR and WR.

Earlier, JTBS policy did not allow additional counters. Other rules related location of JTBS shops too are stringent. A policy review in 2010 popularised the scheme, said a senior railway official who did not wish to be named. The official said the share of JTBS was now equal to Automatic Ticket Vending Machines (ATVMs) that contribute 11 per cent to ticketing.

On why WR was not promoting JTBS, Sharat Chandrayan, chief public relations officer, WR, said, “We have many booking counters to take care of queues. Also, ATVMs and CVMs together contribute 30 per cent to overall ticketing on WR.”


Immune to toothless law, touts derail surveillance

Despite repeated drives against touts who illegally sell rail tickets at a premium, the offenders, exploiting loopholes in the law, get away with mere payment of a fine even after being caught as many as six times, officials admit.

“Under the Railways Act, for touting one can only be fined Rs. 5,000 or be imprisoned for a maximum of six months or both,” an official said.

Exercise blunted

Senior officials insist that though checking has been intensified by the Anti-Fraud Squad at booking centres and reservation counters, on platforms and inside trains, and raids have been conducted across areas under Northern Railway, their helplessness in keeping touts behind bars for long periods has blunted the exercise.

After about 120 preventive checks this month, 74 persons were apprehended and handed over to the Railway Police Force for prosecution, a senior official said: “Northern Railway also organised raids on the premises of authorised and unauthorised ticketing agencies in order to prevent blocking of reservation under fictitious names and subsequent sale of transferred tickets.”

During these checks, 52 touts, seven unauthorised JTBSs [Jansadharan Ticket Booking Sewak] were prosecuted under Sections 143/144 of the Railway Act and two passengers were found travelling on transferred tickets.

But, in the end, nothing substantive came out of this as the touts were back at their business once they came out on bail after paying the fine, the official said.

‘Tighter provisions’

“We need tighter provisions and punishment for frequent defaulters. I think the law should be made stricter for the touts who have started taking it for granted,” said another senior railway official.


Jansadharan Ticket Booking Sevaks allowed to sell platform tickets

Railway board has now allowed the Jansadharan Ticket Booking Sevaks (JTBS) to sell platform tickets in addition to unreserved ticket and renewal of monthly season tickets (MST) from their premises.

JTBS are allowed to levy service charge of Re 1 per passenger irrespective of the destination of the station. The decision to allow sell of platform tickets will help decongest queues outside booking offices at stations that have halts for long distance trains.

In May 2012, the rate of platform ticket was increased from Rs 3 to Rs 5. A platform ticket is valid only for two hours.

A senior CR official said, “As many as 9000 platform tickets are sold at LTT every day. The figure provides an indication of work load at the booking office. The decision will allow a person the option to buy platform ticket at a premium of Rs 1 from JTBS. The advantage being that h/she will not have to stand in long queue at booking office to buy platform tickets.”

The JTBS, especially, those having business near major stations can also see growth in earning due to adding up of new customers. Under the JTBS scheme, the railways allow unemployed youth to sell unreserved tickets and monthly season passes at shops, telephone booth etc.

The Ministry of Railways introduced this scheme in 2008 with a view to appoint (JTBS) in various parts of important cities for issue of unreserved tickets through Computerized Unreserved Ticketing System (UTS).


Jan Sadharan comforts railway passengers

Jan Sadharan Ticket Booking Sewaks (JTBS), which act as the franchisee of the Railways for issuing current tickets, has come to stay in the city. The JTBS of late is enjoying good patronage here.

The serpentine queues in front of current ticket booking counters always cause anxiety to commuters. The JTBS has lessened burden for the Railways and passengers to a considerable extent.

The Railway Board introduced this concept under the banner ‘queue less counters’ to do away with the queue system at railway stations and to help last- minute travellers without a reserved ticket.

JTBS issues unreserved tickets for any destination in the country and for this service they charge one rupee extra over and above the ticket fare.

“The response has been good and we sell more than 350 tickets daily,” says S. M. Sathik Batcha, running the JTBS near Tiruchi junction. “I have many regular customers, including construction workers who visit the city from the nearby villages, and they get the tickets across the counter without difficulty. The demand is for four trains – Mayiladuthurai passenger, Karur passenger, Dindigul passenger and Vridachalam passenger – all originating from Tiruchi junction between 5.45 p.m. and 6.15 p.m.

On Friday evenings, queue could be seen in front of the JTBS run by Mr. Batcha.

It is the time when students and office-goers from other towns and staying in hostels in the city leave for their destinations for weekend .

Many feel that Railways should take more steps for creating awareness of this concept.