Long queues for reservation of tickets and at the ticketing counters continue to bother most passengers and commuters at the Mangalore Central railway station here.
Anagha, studying in Alvas College, said the ticket booking counters were always crowded that people are made to wait “forever”. She says passengers travelling by day trains were the most inconvenienced. “What if we plan suddenly and arrive 10 minutes before the train leaves? There is no way we can catch that train,” she says.
Sulochana from Mulky feels that standing at the queue is more tiring than the actual travel. “Imagine standing in the queue for so long carrying little babies, our luggage, and there is no separate queue for women,” she says.
Many have had bitter experience at the reservation counters too because of long queues.
Anagha says fights occur frequently over the position in the queue which makes people like her uncomfortable.
Arvind Baldev, a trader, says the queues are never regulated in the mornings when there is a scramble for tatkal tickets. Roguish touts just barge into the queues “and push us further behind”, he says.
Senior citizens are the worst hit. Santoshi S. Nayak, who travels regularly to Mumbai and Delhi, says it is very difficult for the senior citizens to get a ticket. She says: “You need to get the application form, fill it and stand in the queue again to submit it”. She says the font size of the text printed on the application form is too small for elders like her to read.
Sudarshan Puttur, president of Kukke Subramanya-Mangalore Rail Commuters Forum, says increasing the number of counters has been a long-pending demand.
People also have to stand in long queue even to platform tickets. “At least they should make separate queues for platform tickets. When we drop our guests and friends; we are eager to send them off properly,” says Sanjay, originally from Bangalore. Commuters have frequently complained that there are no vending machines for platform tickets.
Public Relations Officer for Palakkad Division of Southern Railway S. James said four more ticket booking counters will come up when the station gets the second entrance point at the Attavar side. He said Jan Sadharan Booking Counters near the railway stations are not being used. More such counters will be opened near the railway stations soon. Shortage of staff is to be blamed for long queues at the reservation counters and the Railways is attempting to address the problem. The experiment with platform vending machine has not been a success elsewhere, he said.