You may soon be able to buy suburban train tickets from your local general store, medical store, or even the nearest shopping mall, instead of standing in serpentine queues at railway stations.
The Western Railway (WR) plans to implement this faciltity, called the Jan Sadharan Ticket Booking Sewaks (JTBS) scheme, on the Churchgate-Virar route, from August.
It will allow 212 shops, or commercial bodies, to sell suburban tickets and will introduce ticket counters there.
In September 2010, the Hindustan Times had reported WR’s plan to bring about such a scheme.
Nearly 7 lakh people buy tickets every day and the introduction of the JTBS system would enhance sales. “By the first week of July, we will receive applications from those interested in allotting a part of their store for ticket counters. The system will be introduced by August,” said Sharat Chandrayan, chief Public Relations Officer (PRO), Western Railway.
The commuters will have to pay surcharge of Re1 for the tickets, and will get a footnote for the same.
Apart from buying tickets, commuters can also renew season passes and buy tickets for general compartments on long-distance trains.
The timings of the JTBS would depend on its location and proximity to the railway station.
To serve as a JTBS, the shops will need to have a computer, printer, MTNL/BSNL internet connection and relevant documents to prove that the shop is either owned or rented by the applicant. Railway officials will then visit interested shops, to see if they fulfill these criteria.
Once selected, the shops will be supplied with numbered ticket rolls and equipment required to print tickets.
The shops will then inform the WR about the day’s earnings and tickets sold.