ATVMs to be installed at stations to issue tickets

Soon, long queues in front of ticket counters of railway stations in the State will be a scene lost to time.

The Railways is installing Automatic Ticket Vending Machines (ATVM) in the stations to help passengers procure tickets for unreserved rail travel without actually having to stand in queues.

For this, ‘smart cards’ will be used for the first time in the State, which has been specially designed and developed by the Centre for Railway Information Systems.

The regular commuters will be the most benefitted by the ‘smart move’ of the Railways.

The ATVMs will be initially installed in Thiruvananthapuram Central and Ernakulam South railway stations. “Two ATVMs will be installed near the booking centres in these stations and the machines will minimise the chaos now being experienced at the booking centres,” Divisional Railway Manager Rajesh Agrawal told The Hindu.

Two more ATVMs each will later be installed at Kottayam, Aluva and Thrissur railway stations. All the 10 machines have arrived. The Railways have decided to extend the ATVMs after assessing the response.

The facility operates similar to the Automated Teller Machines. The commuters will have to purchase the ‘smart card’, place them in a slot on the ATVM, select the route and destination on the touch screen, and once the details are confirmed, a computer-printed ticket will be delivered. Once the ticket is issued, the money will automatically be debited from smart card.

The smart cards of the Railways will be available from the booking office and from the ‘facilitators’ who are to be roped in to manage the ATVMs. Retired employees below the age of 65 years from any department in the Southern Railway could join as facilitators. The process to select them is in the final phase. Although they will not get any remuneration, they could retain five per cent bonus on recharge of the smart card.

Five per cent extra on the total value of the smart card will have to be paid by those purchasing it. The smart cards could be topped up once the money gets exhausted with the purchase of the railway tickets.

The validity of the smart card and other details are being worked out by the Railways.

Depending on the response from commuters, the service of the facilitators will be made round-the-clock. “We will also ask the facilitators to extend help to the commuters on how to use the ATVMs,” Mr. Agrawal said.