Passengers stress the need for more ticket counters at least during peak hours

Booking train tickets have now become a tough proposition, especially if the journey is planned at the last minute.

Either there is inadequate staff to issue tickets or the travelling public have a tendency to use counters situated at a particular location.

Long queues at the “current ticket booking counter” at Coimbatore Junction is a common sight during peak hours, especially from 5 a.m. to 9 a.m., from 12.30 p.m. to 2.30 p.m. and again from 6.30 p.m. to 10 p.m., says G. Rathinasabapathy who regularly commutes between Coimbatore and Erode.

Missing trains

There have been instances of passengers missing their trains to Kerala and to places such as Tirupur, Erode and Salem during the peak hours just because they could not make it to the ticket dispensing counter in time, he says. It is during peak hours that many trains either leave Coimbatore or pass through Coimbatore to many important destinations.

The reason for such a queue is that all passengers want to get into the station, book the ticket and board the train, say railway officials. However, passengers stress the need for more ticket counters at the Coimbatore Junction at least during peak hours.

Unreserved tickets, also known as current tickets, can be availed of on the previous day of the journey itself and even advance tickets could be taken with a specific intimation.

But, passengers tend to come only at the last minute to the station.

Railway officials argue that five counters are being operated and even if there is shortage of staff during peak hours, only one counter would remain closed during non-peak hours.

The objective of decongesting the counters by opening another counter at the Western side entrance (Goods Shed road side) of the Junction was defeated because of the tendency of the people, say railway officials.

The counter had to be closed because people went to the Junction through the eastern side entrance and stood in the queue there rather than walk up to the counter on the other side of the station, says an official.

The Peelamedu Railway Station does not have a ticket booking clerk.

That job is done by the Station Master himself. On occasions, the station utilises other staff on an unofficial basis to issue tickets.

Peelamedu Railway Station now accounts for a high passenger density with the daily ticket sale revenue shooting up from a meagre Rs 3,500 to Rs 10,000 and above in the last two to three months. On some days, the ticket sales touched Rs 22,000.

Officials keep the counter closed after peak hours because of non-availability of staff. But it is during non-peak hours that people buy their tickets for long-distance travel.

Railway rules state that a ticket booking clerk could be sanctioned only if there is adequate revenue.

And Peelamedu Station officials claim there is adequate revenue to justify the need for a booking clerk. Peelamedu Station is used by the public to buy tickets for travel to places such as Tirupur, Erode, Salem, Tiruchi and Nagercoil.

R. Raveendran of Residents Awareness Association of Coimbatore says that full-fledged unreserved ticket counters at Podanur, Coimbatore, Coimbatore North, Peelamedu and Singanallur would decongest the crowded ticket counters at Coimbatore Junction.

In addition to this, re-opening the Passenger Reservation System (PRS) counter at Gandhipuram and an additional reservation counter at Peelamedu would substantially help decongest Coimbatore Junction, says K. Kathirmathiyon of Coimbatore Consumer Cause.