In an attempt to provide relief to passengers, the Central Railway is installing 135 new Automatic Ticket Vending Machines (ATVM) on the main and harbour line stations.
These new ATVMs will replace some of the old ATVMs, which often break down creating trouble for passengers. “We have already installed 92 new ATVMs, and rest other will be in place soon,” said a senior official of CR.
Due to frequent breakdowns in the last one year, passengers have stopped using ATVMs. Hence, CR officials are hoping that the new ATVMs will help to regain confidence of passengers and reduce queues on ticket windows.
According to railway sources, the newly procured ATVMs have been improved: While making the ATVM design more user-friendly, the railways have also tried to rectify its problems. For instance, the card reader slot was placed at a low level in the old ATVMs, making it difficult for passengers to place and remove cards. In new machines, the slot is placed higher.
The railway board has already set March 2014 as the deadline to phase out Coupon Vending Machines (CVM), which has so far been the most popular alternative for suburban tickets after booking windows. Before phasing CVMs out, the railways want a sufficient number of ATVMs in place to replace them.
The official said that within six months they are going to procure more 288 ATVMs. “Preparation of the tender document is under process and soon new tenders will be invited for those,” said the official.
In 2007, the railways introduced smart cards for the first time at these ATVMs. Since then, CR has installed 250 ATVMs on its suburban stations, of which 75 were installed last year.