The department of posts is planning to expand the service it currently offers users to book railway tickets.

This initiative comes as another step in the department’s effort to reinvent itself to suit changing consumer needs. From centres of mail service, the post offices are metamorphosising into a one-stop solution for various needs, be it collecting of bills or selling of gold coins and watches.

With an increase in footfalls in post offices, the department is planning to introduce railway reservation systems in more post offices in the next two months. At least 80 commuters visit the Shastri Bhavan post office in a day, where the facility is currently available, to book railways tickets.

Officials of the postal department said the facility was offered to provide a respite for commuters from waiting in serpentine queues to book tickets. At present, tickets can be booked at the post offices in Sriperumbudur, Gingee, in Villupuram district, and Villianur, in Puducherry.

“About 2,000 people book tickets at each centre in a month. We will be opening centres in the Kalpakkam and Madurantakam post offices in one or two months,” an official said.

Sales of gold coins are another hit among consumers, with three to five kg of 24-carat gold coins being purchased every month from 55 post offices in the city. On Sunday, the Dhanteras day that marks the beginning of Deepavali, the department plans to keep the post offices open and provide a discount of 7 per cent on gold coins.

More post offices may start offering the service in the coming months owing to increase in patronage.

D. Senthamarai Kannan, a resident of K.K. Nagar, said, “I have bought 30 grams of gold coins so far at the post office to gift my granddaughter for her wedding. Discounts on prices of gold coins will be helpful at a time when the cost is escalating.”

Another timely launch that has lured customers is the D’light solar lamp. In the three months since the launch, nearly 300-400 products were sold in nine head post offices. The retail services contribute to nearly 10 per cent of the annual revenue of the department, officials said.

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