Central Railway (CR) is planning to procure 135 new Automatic Ticket Vending Machines (ATVMs) to ease queues at ticket windows.
At present there are about 250 ATVMs and 350 Coupon Vending Machines at CR stations across the city. At crowed stations such as Thane, Vashi, Kalyan and CST, commuters are often forced to wait for over 20 minutes for a ticket.
CR has now floated tenders for these 135 ATVMs, the first phase in its plan to install a total of 940 more. Of these, 86 will be installed at main line stations and 49 on the harbour line.
The railway board will fund the project, estimated to cost about Rs2 crore. Railway sources said each ATVM is expected to cost around Rs1.3 lakh.
Railway authorities also plan to rehabilitate 175 ATVMs, procured four years ago so that they do not need to be phased out and can be used for at least three more years.
Passenger associations said CR should take some steps towards the maintenance of the machines as well. “The move to get new ATVMs is a welcome one, but they should first replace existing non-functional ATVMs and also take some steps towards the maintenance of new machines so that passengers are not inconvenienced any further,” said Subhash Gupta, National Railway Users Consultative Committee.
Commuters can use ATVMs to purchase first and second class single-journey tickets as well as second class return tickets. Passengers can also renew their monthly and quarterly passes and buy platform tickets.
According to CR sources, out of total 8.64 lakh daily card ticket buyers, about 13% prefer to buy them using ATVMs. But more people prefer using coupon tickets, with about 18% of commuters opting for them.