The cardboard tickets synonymous with the suburban railway for decades will soon become history. While the Western Railway has already phased out the card ticket system earlier this year, the Central Railway too is in the process of eliminating these by December.
“We are replacing this age-old system of issuing card tickets – that are punched manually or issued by a buttoned machine – with the computerised system. This will make our ticketing system centralised and help keep a tab on the exact number of tickets sold within seconds as the database will be readily available,” said S. Mudgerikar, chief PRO, CR.
“We have already phased out this system but have kept machines at select few stations as back up,” said WR chief PRO, S Gupta.
Till September 2009, earnings from card tickets were 30.39 per cent of the total sale, while the computerised ticketing system contributed 45.86 per cent. The sale figures for card tickets shot down in April to just 9.55 per cent while the revenue generated by the computerised system went up to 76.89 per cent.
“We are removing card ticket machines from several stations and replacing them with the computerised Unreserved Ticket System.
Gradually we will promote other forms of issuing tickets such as the automated ticket vending machines and coupon validating machines,” said a senior CR official.
Sources in the CR say tickets issued using the card ticket system are presently faster than in a computerised system. But this can change once faster software and better printers are installed. “Once the ticketing system gets completely computerised we can use better printers and software that will eliminate this problem,” said the CR official.
The card tickets are sold at few stations such as Dadar, Byculla, Parel, Matunga and Ghatkopar. In several stations, the ticket-punching machine made of iron is kept at one corner of the ticket counter for emergency use.
“We will use these machines as a backup in case the computerised system fails,” added the official.
The number of passengers who purchased card tickets in 2009-10 has gone down to 10.32 lakh from the previous financial year’s figure of 10.90 lakh. The earning from card ticket machines too has gone down from Rs 80.24 lakh to Rs 74.66 lakh.