It took one hour for Chembur resident Amit Palav to purchase a ticket for Nerul at Govandi station, and barely 15 minutes to reach the destination. Like Amit, many other passengers have been complaining about increased waiting period in ticket queues since the past few months.
The situation has aggravated from April 1, when the railways stopped special access for coupon vending machine (CVM) booklets at ticket windows. “This is utter harassment, people buying monthly passes, daily tickets and coupon booklets are now forced to stand in a single queue. In one hour, I would have gone to Nerul twice and returned. I had to cancel my doctor’s appointment due to this delay,” said Amit Palav.
Commuter activists agree that the waiting period in ticket queue has doubled and little has been done to improve the situation. “People are spending over half an hour to buy tickets. Earlier, passengers used to wait for only 10-15 minutes during peak hours,” said Madhu Kotian, Zonal Railway Users Consultative committee member (ZRUCM).
The commuters are reluctant to purchase Automatic Ticket Vending Machine (ATVM) cards since they don’t want to pay the depository sum of Rs50 and most of them find the system's functioning complicated.
A railway official, requesting anonymity, said, “Ticket sale in April has dropped by 2% compared to April 2011, and 6% in comparison to March. This is mainly because of 33% drop in CVM booklet sales that has come down from Rs.2.20 crore in March to Rs.1.50 crore in April.”
The overall ticket sale on the suburban section has also reduced from Rs54.12 crore in March to Rs.50.9 crore last month.