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Updated: May 4, 2010 02:37 IST

ATVMs wait for users even during rush hour

Ajai Sreevatsan
Comment (5)   ·   print   ·   T  T  

It is 5 p.m. Rush-hour traffic has started to flow through the Chennai Fort Railway Station. As the queue in front of the ticket counter piles up, the Automated Ticket Vending Machines (ATVMs) remain completely ignored.

It has been two years since ATVMs were introduced and close to 40 are in operation in various stations in the Madras zone.

But the tickets sold through them account for less than three per cent of the number of passengers every day, according to statistics from the Southern Railway.

In stations such as Chintadripet, Chepauk, which are part of the MRTS network, and in Meenambakkam, less than 10 tickets are bought a day through the automated machines. The average daily traffic through the city's rail network (including MRTS and sub-urban sections) is about 10 lakh.

T. Ravikumar, president, Train and Bus Passengers Welfare Association, says “Most people do not know why these machines are kept. They think it is just a weight checking machine. A person is sometimes available during rush hour to help people. But some kind of guidance or information system must be available through the day for enough people to use them.”

Regular commuters such as Vipul Kumar say that an information manual stuck on to the machine explaining how to use the smart cards will be of great help. The cards, which can be recharged with amounts that are multiples of Rs.50, also offer a five per cent premium. That is, if one recharges for Rs.100, tickets can be bought for Rs.105.

R. Sivanandan, professor, Transportation Engineering Division, IIT-Madras, says that since large transit volumes are an everyday reality in India, greater push towards automation has to be made. “All counters must eventually be replaced with enquiry-and-help desks. Once features such as common ticketing set in, data have to be embedded into a smart ticket. Instead of buying a ticket, one can buy a certain number of kilometres and travel across multiple modes.” Pointing out that though the concept of rush-hour counters exists, it is not feasible for the existing counter system to handle fluxes in traffic volume, a senior Southern Railway official said “We would like to see at least 15 to 20 per cent of the traffic to go through the smart card route. Commuters will soon be able to buy season tickets through the ATVMs. The modalities are being worked out.”

More In: Chennai

ATVM is a very good facility that is available in the railway deptartment for the office going passengers but this facility can be operated in every stations to avoid wasting the time in waiting for getting tickets in the counter.

from:  Subhashini
Posted on: Oct 1, 2010 at 11:40 IST

I tried thrice to use Smart Card in beach station, but unfortunately it worked only once and the rest of the two times the machine was not working. Also i would appreciate if the railway authorities can make some kind of arrangement for monthly pass renewal and online recharge of Smart Cards. In fact a few weeks back, i wrote a suggestion letter to the railway authority for monthly pass renewal.

from:  Yamuna Devi R
Posted on: Oct 1, 2010 at 11:34 IST

The Railway department must keep an LCD TV near to the AVTM's or in the Stations which displays steps for obtaining the ticket through AVTM's both in English and regional language. I think this would help lot of people to look for what is being in the LCD when they are waiting for the train, thereby, people would acquire enough knowledge.

from:  Jagadeesh Kumar
Posted on: May 14, 2010 at 12:23 IST

A few years back the no. of person using ATM's were quite low. But now people have learnt using it and you can find a long queue in almost all the ATM's. Similary if Officials (clerk who issue the ticket) at the Chennai Central station could advice the commuters and also help them learn using the machine, then sooner the number of users using the ATVM's would rise gradually.

Also, there should be some complaint box near the ATVM's so that the commuters can lodge their complaint.

from:  S. Dhinakaran
Posted on: May 5, 2010 at 00:08 IST

The problem with the smart cards is that sometimes the machine do not read the cards and there is no replacement mechanism to get these card.
To get these cards itself one has to stand in the long queues which defeats the purpose of the cards. Morever these cards are available only in certain station. If some online recharge facility is available then it would be great. Most of the times these machines are also not working. No point in blaming the commuters. Even I have a card which has 75rs but when I went to use the card is expired. So I have stopped using this card.

from:  Jacob Paul
Posted on: May 4, 2010 at 12:20 IST
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