You needn’t be discouraged by the serpentine queues at railway ticket booking counters any more. Within the next three months, you will be able to buy tickets or renew your monthly pass from a local authorised vendor.
The Central Railway has issued licences under the Jansadharan Ticket Booking Sevaks (JTBS) scheme to 96 local vendors in areas surrounding 100 stations in Mumbai.
In 2011, the CR had sought applications to start the JTBS service at 1,050 locations across 100 suburban stations. Out of the 150 valid applications received, 96 were short-listed. Once this facility is operational (by April), passengers would be able to renew their monthly passes, purchase local tickets and outstation unreserved tickets three days in advance at these vendors, which could be your grocery shop, stationary shop or a telephone booth around the corner.
“We are trying to accommodate maximum number of applications to facilitate passengers to distant stations,” said a senior railway official, requesting anonymity. The JTBS has received a good response from areas around Kalyan, Mumbra, Thane, Vashi, Dombivli, Kalwa and Mulund station.
The vendors will need a computer, printer and a BSNL Internet connection that will be connected to the railway server. They will charge Rs1 more than the prescribed railway fare for each passenger or monthly pass.
“Each vendor will have to invest Rs1.5 lakh for this project. The monthly revenue could be around Rs10,000,” the official said.