Bhubaneswar, March 17: Lack of awareness about the automatic ticket vending machine (ATVM) at the Bhubaneswar railway station has led to poor response regarding its usage.
Although the machines were supposed to ease the congestion at the booking counters during peak hours, low level of awareness has resulted in passengers standing in long queues instead of booking their tickets through ATVMs.
Statistics available with the booking office in Bhubaneswar railway station revealed that the number of smart cards issued between December 14, 2011, and February 28, 2013, stood at 2,505.
Smart cards are placed on the card reader slot of the machine to avail the service. The city railway station has four such machines. A person can also use the smart card to get a platform ticket.
Sources in the East Coast Railway said that the number of unreserved tickets sold in the booking office were more than 15,000 everyday whereas more than 4,500 platforms tickets are sold on a daily basis.
Around 85 people generate general tickets through the machine everyday, while another 15 use the ATVMs to get a platform ticket daily.
There are five counters near the entrance of platform No. 1 and another two counters are there for general tickets at the exit point near platform No. 4.
“One can see a lot of congestion near the booking counters in the morning and after 4pm. The situation becomes chaotic during peak hours as people have to stand in long queues to get a general ticket,” said a senior railway official.
Apart from a small pamphlet pasted on the glass window of a booking counter, there is no other advertisement about the smart cards.
One has to go to the office of the chief booking supervisor to purchase a smart card. The passengers too feel that one ATVM should be kept near the entrance of platform No. 4.
“All the four machines are situated near the entrance of platform No. 1, which makes it difficult for passengers entering though the gate at platform No. 4. They have to take the foot overbridge to book a ticket through ATVM,” said Malaya Samal, a passenger.
The passengers also feel that a person should be deployed to assist them while using the machines.
“Sometimes we have to go through technical glitches but without anyone to assist us it becomes very difficult. So, there should be someone near the machine to demonstrate its use,” said Upendra Sethy, another passenger.
The smart cards can be bought by depositing Rs 100, which includes a usable balance of Rs 50 and a refundable security deposit of Rs 50. One needs to top-up the cards in multiples of Rs 50. There is no need to submit any identification proof for obtaining a smart card.
The smart cards have also a provision of a bonus of five per cent on the fare value. For example, one person will get a travel value of Rs 105 with a recharge of Rs 100.
Chief public relation officer of east coast railway, R.N. Mohapatra, said that they would organise an awareness drive soon.
“Even in the past, we have organised awareness drives to educate people about the ATVM service. We will continue conducting such awareness drives,” said Mohapatra.