Rail ticket reservation centre at Pattom shut

High operational costs, low-income generation owing to commuters booking train tickets online, and Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) providing the Next Generation e-ticketing system has taken its toll on the satellite passenger reservation system (PRS) centre functioning at Pattom.

Commissioned in 1999 during the launch of Country Wide Network for Computerised Enhanced Reservation and Ticketing (CONCERT) system all over Indian Railways, the Pattom PRS centre, one of the seven in Thiruvananthapuram city limits, has been closed down.

The public uproar and protests from various quarters, including the Federation of Residents’ Associations Thiruvananthapuram (FRAT), did not succeed.

Before the introduction of online/mobile ticketing, the Pattom PRS centre at the Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) buildings received good patronage from residents of Kesavadasapuram, Ulloor, and Nalanchira. Railways say the introduction of e-ticketing has reduced the dependence on PRS counter tickets all over as 75% of reservations are through online mode now.

“In fact, two shifts a day receive less than 200 reservation and cancellation forms,” it has been pointed out.

The operational cost is not justifiable considering the cost for salary, network provider channel, and maintenance. The recent rental hike by the LIC made the centre uneconomical, according to Railways. The centre has also been subject to vandalism during hartal and strike called by political parties. “Lack of patronage, exorbitant rent, operational costs, and pertinent security issues had led to the closure and it is with the approval of Railway Board,” Railways said in a release here.

Shirish Kumar Sinha, Divisional Railway Manager, Thiruvananthapuram, said they had carried out a detailed study of the PRS centres and that only the Pattom PRS centre was incurring a loss.

FRAT protest

FRAT chairman M.S. Venugopal said the closing down of the facility at Pattom was a big blow to those coming to the Kerala Public Service Commission for interviews and to hospitals in Pattom, Murinjaplam, and MCH campus; those staying nearby; and those who did not have access to the Internet.

The FRAT, which had spearheaded a stir against the move to close down the facility in 2005, will organise agitations to restore it, he added.

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Printable version | Jul 25, 2021 2:18:54 AM |

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