Mumbaiites seem to be giving paperless ticketing a huge thumbs up. Within 48 hours of the launch of the facility, more than 17,000 people had downloaded the app and 700 tickets were booked.
Sharat Chandrayan, chief public relations officer of Western Railway (WR), said the highest number of paperless mobile tickets were booked from Andheri station followed by Borivli, Goregaon, Churchgate and Bandra.
Railway minister Suresh Prabhu launched the paperless mobile ticketing system at 35 suburban stations between Churchgate and Dahanu on Wednesday. Chandrayan said they had received several queries about the new app and how to book tickets on it and they had been replying to those. “Several people have even asked about extending the facility to CR,” he said.
Last December, the railways had launched mobile ticketing in Mumbai. It, however, failed to get the expected response from passengers as they had to print their tickets via the Automatic Ticket Vending Machine (ATVM) at stations, after booking it on their mobile phones.
Now, in the upgraded mobile ticketing app, the railways have done away with ticket printing. After booking a ticket through the app, the commuter directly gets a PDF of the ticket on their phone.
WR officials said after the new mobile ticketing app, barely 500 suburban railway tickets were booked. Railway officials are hopeful about the success of this system. Many passengers have, however, asked whether they will be able to book mobile tickets after changing their existing handsets and why can’t they buy tickets at railway stations and within a 2-km periphery of the station.
To ensure that no passengers can book tickets after seeing a ticket checker, on on railway premises or inside trains, the railways have set up geo-tagging of the station area including the tracks, with the help of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). As a result, mobile tickets can be booked only 30 metres away from and within a 2-km radius of the railway station.
“We have been giving details about mobile ticket booking through social media. We are also trying to solve all possible queries of passengers,” said Chandrayan.
The facility will be extended to the CR and the harbour line within a couple of months. Meanwhile, CRIS is also working on adding the option of booking a railway pass through the mobile app.