Citizens' Issues
Public Interest Exclusive
Railways plan to stop selling ticket coupons from next year

Without popularising any easy-to-use and failure-safe alternative, the Railways are phasing out coupon booklets that can be purchased from ticket windows and validated by punching at starting station across the Mumbai suburban rail network

To avoid the long rush at the railway ticket counters, Mumbaikars have an easy option of using coupon vending machines (CVMs). Unfortunately, this would now be a thing of past. From March 2013, these coupons will not be available as the Railway board has decided to phase out them from circulation. This move is aimed to popularise the Railways’ own automatic ticket vending machines (ATVM) where a smart card (issued by the Railways) is used for buying tickets and season passes. However, passengers association are disappointed with the announcement. Just recently, the Railways also stopped selling coupons directly and instead asked commuters to buy it by standing in the queue, similar to other ticket buyers.

Vidyadhar Malegaokar, chief public relation officer, Central Railway, told Moneylife that, “It was an old notification from the railway ministry. We had requested them for an extension. Accordingly, the CVMs will be phased out by March 2013. Already ATVMs are been installed across stations. Once we have alternative, CVMs will be removed. At present, around 15% of ticket sales, on average, are coming through ATVMs.”
 
At present, across railway stations of Mumbai, there are 350 CVMs and 250 ATVMs on the Central Railway and 230 CVMs and 175 ATVMs on the Western Railway stations. On the Central Railway network, there are about 428 ticket booking windows that sell around 10 lakh tickets every day.

However, passenger associations have criticized the move calling it a deliberate attempt to kill the popular CVM scheme. “CVMs are easy to operate and popular among commuters. Earlier the railways allowed passengers to buy coupons without standing in the queue. But according to a circular, from 1st April, people have to stand in queue to buy coupons. Obviously, there is no rationale here. Commuters will migrate to ATVMs, which in reality is complicated to use. ATVMs just mean the railways will get full payment in advance,” said Madhu Kotian, president, Mumbai Rail Pravasi Sangh.
 
Mr Kotian adds that, “Unlike CVMs where only the coupon had to be punched, while using an ATVM a passenger has to give five commands. People who cannot read the instructions would not be able to use this; unlike the CVMs. Plus many of these expensive machines are non-functional. Instead they should have increased the number of CVMs. At the end only passenger will have to suffer.”

For using the ATVMs, the commuter needs to buy a smart card and then top it up or refill (similar to adding talk time in mobile) in multiples of Rs50. The smart card carries a deposit of Rs50, which means this money would be locked and remain with the Railways and you cannot use it for buying tickets. For buying tickets through the ATVMs, you need to refill it with minimum Rs50. The Railways offer a 5% discount on every refill, which means if you loaded the card with Rs100, then the refilled amount would be Rs105.

For using ATVMs, the commuter has to place his smart card on the sensor screen, select language (Marathi, Hindi or English), select appropriate zone, starting and destination stations, add number of adults and children and then give the print command.
 
Subhash Gupta, president, Yatri Sangh Mumbai, seconds the view. “There is a huge popularity of CVMs among the passengers. The reason behind long queues is the less number of ticket counters. Phasing out coupons will add to the problem. The Mumbai Division (railway) is already short of staff. So there is no hope for any additional ticket counter or window at any station. CVMs are easier to use as compared ATVMs, which can be used by people who can read or do any ATM transaction. We will demand with the railway board to not put an end to CVMs.”

He adds that, “Unless there is dedicated staff to resolve the technical problems, as often these machine breakdown, passengers won’t have any relief. These factors have to be considered by the Railways.”

At present, there are some facilitators (mostly Railway employees) at a few ATVMs who sell tickets to commuters by using their smart card. They also help commuters in buying tickets through these machines. However, their number is limited and they are not available at every station or ATVM.

User

COMMENTS

Ratanlal Purohit

5 years ago

Dear Sudhir
Thank you
I take it that you arr trying to responding to my questions but have just shot at the tangent.
I GIVE 100 AND GET 52 AFTER DEDUCTING 50. WHY THIS IS SO COMPLICATED. DOUBLE TROUBLE. SIMPLE MATHS RATHER ARITHMATIC.
LET RAILWAY RESPOND. WHY THIS KOLAVERI DI.
THANK YOU FOR INFORMING ONE MORE VARIANT OF PAYMENT OPTION.
ANYONE WHO KNOWS OPERATIONS RESEARCH AND QUEUEING THEORY WILL AGREE THAT 20/30 SECOND WILL ONLY ADD TO THE PRESENT PROBLEM. AT THE COUNTER IT TAKES 5/10 SECONDS AND THERE ARE BIG QUEUES.
SUBMITTED MOST HUMBLY WITH A REQUEST TO ADDRESS THE CENTRAL POINT.
HOPE RAILWAYS APPOINT AN EXPERT COMMITY WITH CONSUMER FOCUS TO RETHINK. WHAT IS WRONG IN ALTERNATIVE SUGGESTED. LET THEM GO ABROAD TO STUDY.
Regards
RB Purohit

D Pereira

5 years ago

Hi,
Today (28th May), three out of three Smart Card Ticket Vending Machines and one out of two CVMs are not working at Ambernath Station.
I brought my daughter to mumbai from ambernath, and had to purchase a ticket for her. I have a season ticket.
This is very frustrating.
Regards,
D Pereira

Sudhir Badami

5 years ago

There is a common card which is being launched by Ministry of Urban Development for transport sector, usable anywhere. It was 'launched in Dec 2011 at the Urban Mobility Conference. It is a smart card / debit card.
5% incentive is correct. If you refill with Rs 100, your ATVM card gets Rs 105/-. Since they operate with Rs 1 as least count, it is natural that Rs 50 refill will provide Rs 52. If it were loaded with Rs 53, people will load Rs 50 more frequently, defeating the purpose of queuing up at the window for a refill.
The Smart card is easier to carry than a booklet. I have used both. It is human nature not to change for better convenience because we fear inconvenience.
Booklets can become thriving business for fraudsters, ATVM cards, money is paid to railway account immediately as you do the refill.
Buying a smart card for Rs 20 that lasts as long as you take basic care in handling and over one year, for a purchase of tickets of value Rs 500, it is as little as 4%, less than 5% incentive given while doing a refill. Rs 500 expense on rail travel in one year is quite small.

Ratanlal Purohit

5 years ago

What is Railway up to?
Its monopoly. There is no competition. Can we take it to competition law? No why not. Will Supreme Court admit a class Action.

We dont get any answer for their arbitrary actions. The Deposit. Why? It is our money. RAILWAYS SHOULD GIVE OR TAKE SECURITY. A BANKER WILL BE HAPPY IF ALLOWED SUCH.
AND WHERE IS 5%. ITS ONLY 2 Rs YOU GET. 50 IS DEDUCTED. YOU GET 52. CAN WE TAKE THEM TO ASCI FOR WROND AND MISLEADING ADVERTISEMENT. WILL CONSUMER COURT TAKE IT UP. A PLAIN DAYLIGHTROBBERY.
AND WHERE IS CONSUMER CONVENIENCE IN THE NEW SYSTEM. FIRST BUY SMART RAILWAY CARD. PAY EXTRA MONEY. THEN KEEP IT ALWAYS IN YOUR WALLET IN ADDITION TO YOUR ATM CARD. THEN TAKE A TRAINING PROGRAM TO LEARN HOW TO USE IT. AND LOSE IF YOU MAKE A MISTAKE. LOSE YOUR COOL AT THE COST OF RAILWAY MISTAKE OF BUYING THESE MACHINES. ANY TATRA TYPE SCAM FOR SOME ONE TO MAKE HAY TILL SUN SHINES.
WHY NOT SIMPLY VALIDATE BANK ATMS THAT ARE ALREADY THERE.
WILL ML TAKE THIS UP. WILL CONSUMER NGOs TAKE IT UP. WILL SOME ADVOCATES DO SOME PUBLIC SERVICE AS CSR. I WONDER.

arun adalja

5 years ago

railways are getting money in advance and coupens are easy and very useful for mumbai suburban trains and what is the reason for stopping it?go to dadar,thane vt and mumbai central it will take minimum 30 minutes to get ticket.

REPLY

Sudhir Badami

In Reply to arun adalja 5 years ago

Looks like you have not read the first two comments.

arun adalja

In Reply to Sudhir Badami 5 years ago

these are my views and what other writes i am least bothered anyway i do not want to argue.

Sudhir Badami

In Reply to arun adalja 5 years ago

These two postings merely gave benefits of smart card. When CVMs were introduced, many may have objected to it but more found its benefits.
Briefest answer for ATVM usefulness is, you carry a card, can fill it with min Rs 20, select your destination, number of adults, number of children and ask for a print out. The operation takes 20 to 25 seconds. It also gives platform tickets and I need to confirm, monthly & quarterly pass also.
This posting is not to argue but to enable you to know. Thereafter it is for you to decide whether to hold to your views or not.

DrSharmila Rao PN

5 years ago

I don't really know as I don't use railways except to go home for a holiday.
But it sounds a great idea.
At least during our month's stay at Bangkok the phone and train cards available at 7/11 shops were great.

Bosco

5 years ago

I totally agree with the article. I have been using only Ticket Coupons for several years now. In my expereince, it takes about 10 seconds to punch 3-4 coupons, whereas my friends who use the smart card take much more time for the same. And whereas it is possible for 2-3 people to share a coupon validating machine at one time during peak hours (each one punching 1 ticket sequentially to save time), only 1 smart card user can use his machine at any one time. I would suggest to the railways to keep the coupons scheme, even if they make people stand in line to get the booklets.

REPLY

malq

In Reply to Bosco 5 years ago

Please come to Delhi and see the simple smart card that Delhi Metro uses. Deposit cost 50/-, discount 10% on travel, available as credit card shaped or as key chain, in both cases just tap and keep moving, often you don't even break stride as you go through the turnstile. Very soon we are looking at the same card being used for buses, parking lot and more.

The benefits in terms of preventing loss of revenue are the main issue.

Best/VM

Bosco

In Reply to malq 5 years ago

Apparently then Delhi uses a different system from Mumbai alltogether. In fact based on your description, it looks like you'll have a similar system to the London Metro, which i have used on stints abroad & which worked very very well. In which case my arguments do not apply to you'll at all.But here in Mumbai we have a rather different system. At the moment , in Mumbai at least, we definitely do need the Ticket Coupons as a supplement to regular tickets & smart cards.

malq

In Reply to Bosco 5 years ago

Matter of fact, the smart card system used in Delhi is now being bench-marked globally for not just the passenger/commuter transaction but the complete cycle. AND the savings are well above the 10% discounted to the pax on multiple heads put together.

What sort of smart card do you have in Mumbai, can you please describe it?

Here in Delhi, we either tap the sensor or lay the smart card flat on the sensor (works even when the smart card is inside a wallet, for example). As I said, after a few times, you can swing past without breaking stride because the turnstile is about one step ahead.

Hope that helps. Maybe you need to work on your local authorities and tell them to look at Delhi Metro?

Sudhir Badami

5 years ago

Coupons for CVMs are purchasable in booklets of Rs 30 and Rs 50. They get damp easily due to perspiration, unless the commuter keeps it in a plastic case. Slightest dampness causes the coupon to lose its stiffness and becomes difficult to insert to get it validated. Secondly, every coupon needs to be validated. While it may take about 20 seconds for four coupon validation, multiple 'tickets' would take that much more time. Also, return journey will require similar time.

As for ATVM, it takes 25 seconds for a transaction including multiple tickets and return tickets for the same destination. Return ticket purchased is valid like any return ticket - valid till the mid night of next day or in case of Saturday, till midnight of following Monday. The smart card refill was in multiples of Rs 50 until recently when they have made minimum refill amount as Rs 20. Until recently, the CVTM has not been giving any problems.

The monthly pass is not transferable as it has to be accompanied with a photo identity.

Perhaps the display to select the destination could be improved upon but most people would learn quickly even at this design. The small fraction who do not know or need to know the Mumbai Rail system can always go to the ticket counter where the queue would not be long if most people have ATVM smart card.

People purchasing CVM Coupons need not be privileged to beat the queue as they are spending time in queue every once in a while. As regards First Class traveler, the queue priority is anyway being accorded, to save time of a high end ticket purchaser. Refilling smart card does not receive such privileges anyway.

On the whole, the smart card is most useful, even better than buying ticket at the counter.

malq

5 years ago

Smart card based travel systems have been in use in Delhi for almost a decade now, and the benefits are multiple, for both user as well as railways.

1) The discount (which, btw is 10% in Delhi) is a boon to commuters.

2) Coupons can easily be counterfeited, while smart cards counterfeiting while possible, gets caught at the sensros.

3) Let us not underestimate the capabilities of all classes of people to adapt to this form of ticketing.

4) Adding value to the smart cards can be done onsite, online, at ATMs and vending machines. These can also be linked to parking charges.

All in all, smart cards reduce revenue leakage, and the sooner they are put in position, the better. Also, the tendency of mis-using "seasons tickets" for multiple journeys in the same day/date by people will be eliminated.

You pay for the travel you undertake.

The biggest benefit is that with a smart card, travel across the WR/CR and soon to come Mumbai Metro will become unified, hopefully - and no more of that racket of catching WR ticket people on CR and vice versa at Dadar WR/CR.

With smart cards, my submission is that a lot of rackets will end on Mumbai's suburban "local" train network, especially all sorts of undesirables hanging around on the platforms. The benefits far outweigh everything else.

Humbly submitted.

New IT law of the US will have serious ramification for India: FICCI

Under the law, only those manufacturers, who can provide proof of using genuine hardware and licensed software, would be allowed to export and sell, either directly or indirectly through third parties

New Delhi: Industry body FICCI raised concerns over a new competition law in the US which states that only those manufacturers who can provide proof of using genuine hardware and licensed software should be allowed to export to America, reports PTI.
In an effort to create level-playing field between competing manufacturers globally, some of the US states have passed a new competition law.

Under the law, only those manufacturers, who can provide proof of using genuine hardware and licensed software, would be allowed to export and sell, either directly or indirectly through third parties.

“The law could have serious implications for Indian exporters to US,” FICCI said in a statement.

While the first laws were passed in the states of Washington and Louisiana on 4 November 2011, attorney generals of 39 US states have signed a resolution to combat unfair trade practices in manufacturing by preventing usage of illegal or stolen IT (i.e. non-genuine and unlicensed software).

User

Telecom sector attracted $12,400 million FDI in 11 years

“Actual FDI in the telecom sector from April 2000 to September 2011 is $12,456 in million,” an annual report of Department of Telecom said

New Delhi: The cumulative foreign direct investment (FDI) in Indian telecom sector over past 11 years crossed $12,400 million in September 2011 says an annual report of Department of Telecom (DoT).

According to a PTI report, the DoT report said, “Today, telecom is the third major sector attracting FDI inflows after services and computer software sector... Actual FDI in the telecom sector from April 2000 to September 2011 is $12,456 in million.”

The government allows 74% FDI in companies providing telecom services except for providing infrastructure, e-mail, voice mail service and manufacturing of telecom equipments, where 100% FDI is allowed.

By the end of financial year 2011, cumulative FDI in the country stood at $10,555 million, which is 18.3% more compared to $8,924 million in March 2010.

User

We are listening!

Solve the equation and enter in the Captcha field.
  Loading...
Close

To continue


Please
Sign Up or Sign In
with

Email
Close

To continue


Please
Sign Up or Sign In
with

Email

BUY NOW

The Scam
24 Year Of The Scam: The Perennial Bestseller, reads like a Thriller!
Moneylife Magazine
Fiercely independent and pro-consumer information on personal finance
Stockletters in 3 Flavours
Outstanding research that beats mutual funds year after year
MAS: Complete Online Financial Advisory
(Includes Moneylife Magazine and Lion Stockletter)