Reducing the workload on stationmasters

Unreserved tickets will soon be issued to commuters by Station Ticket Booking Sewaks (STBS) in 40 E-category stations across the State as part of exempting stationmasters from ticketing duties. With this, stationmasters in 22 stations in Thiruvananthapuram Railway Division and 18 in Palakkad Division would be able to concentrate more on operational duties, sources said.

The decision comes at a time when stationmasters’ workload had reportedly been causing safety concerns. Stationmasters had been complaining that they were forced to issue tickets through unreserved ticketing system to shore up revenue and to make bookings easier.

Sources told The Hindu that STBS would be appointed on contract to issue unreserved tickets through computerised ticketing system. The STBS would have the authority to issue non-commercial, unreserved tickets, excluding platform and season tickets, and senior citizen concession tickets. All other concession tickets requiring proof could be issued only when permitted by the stationmaster. They would issue cash tickets alone.

Railways would appoint one STBS per station. If needed, the STBS could nominate one or more persons. The STBS should be above 18 years of age, a resident in the area, and should have passed at least Class 10. The Commercial Wing of Railways had invited bids for appointing STBS. Those selected would need to remit a refundable security deposit of Rs.5,000 and furnish a bank guarantee of Rs.20,000. On completion or termination of contract, pending dues would be adjusted against the deposit.

The cost of hardware and software would be borne by Railways. Cash from ticket sale would have to be deposited with the stationmaster at the end of the shift. For the STBS, the income would be the commission, paid monthly, on net sales.

Stations

Aralvaimozhi, Cheppad, Chingavanam, Ettumanur, Edappally, Kalamassery, Karukutty, Kumbalam, Kurupanthara, Mararikulam, Mayyanad, Mulangunnathukavu, Mulanthuruthi, Murukkumpuzha, Nemom, Ochira, Ollur, Perinad, Pudukad, Sengulam, Vaikom road, and Vallathol Nagar in Thiruvananthapuram Division would get STBS. In Palakkad Division, the stations are Ullal, Kannur South, Etakkot, Tikkoli, Kadalundy, Tirunavaya, Pallipuram, Karakad, Mannanur, Lakkiti, Mankara, Parli, Kanjikode, Walayar, Ettimadai, Madukarai, West Hill, and Kallayi stations.