An automatic vending machine has been installed at the Ernakulam Junction railway station

Passengers no longer need to wait in serpentine queues to book tickets at the Ernakulam Junction railway station thanks to the new automatic vending machine installed at the station on Monday. The vending machine was inaugurated by MP P. Rajeev.

The machine can be used for current bookings in second ordinary, second express and second super express trains along with securing unreserved and platform tickets.

Smart card

The machine is operated with a smart card that can be bought from separate counters at the station. A smart card would cost Rs.100 out of which Rs.48 would be charged for the card and the remaining Rs.52 can be used for further bookings.

Each card has a validity of six months during which the card can be recharged by contacting the Chief Booking Supervisor. The price of the ticket would be automatically deducted from the pre-loaded card and top-ups can be done conveniently at the railway counters.Facilitators

The services of two facilitators are being made available at the vending machine operating point to help commuters use the facility.

“We expect to install separate automatic vending machines for each zone in future so that we can extend services for booking in all classes which can help make ticket bookings more convenient,” said M. Sudalai, Chief Booking Supervisor.

The automatic ticket vending machines were installed by the Southern Railway at Thiruvananthapuram, Thrissur, Kottayam, Ernakulam and Aluva.

Glitch rectified

All the stations were to be commissioned simultaneously, but there was a slight hiccup at Aluva railway station with the machine unable to print the tickets. The problem was rectified within an hour, L. Ashok Kumar, Area Manager, Southern Railway, told The Hindu.

More machines

Similar machines will be set up at more stations in the State in a phased manner, according to him. The inauguration was attended by Station Manager Chandran and Asst. Supervisor M.A. Joseph.

The machines, built by a private company, had been launched in railway stations under the Northern Railway earlier.

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