Procurement of 140 machines cancelled as rly opts for smart card-operated ATVMs.
MUMBAI: The Western Railway (WR) is all set to stop use of silverblue coloured coin- operated ticket vending machine (CoTVMs) which were bogged down by several software glitches and operational issues. Cancelling the procurement order of 140 such machines, the Railways will now be getting smart card-operated ticket vending machines instead.
The coin-operated ticket vending machines were introduced in 2015 in a bid to reduce the serpentine queues outside ticketing windows. Each of these machines costs Rs 7.5 lakh. The machines were meant to help commuters purchase tickets for suburban trains by directly putting in the exact cash. Passengers could also use the machines to book unreserved card and season tickets, buy platform tickets and recharge smart cards.
However, these machines remained largely unpopular and out of service for months after several bugs and technical glitches were reported in its software. Railways had discontinued the use of these machines across the country when a fraud pertaining to ticket sale was exposed at Pune. These machines were hit by a software bug which ensured that a ticket was issued even after the cash on the smart card was exhausted.
The machines were reintroduced in September 2016 after improvements in the software. According to senior railway officers, CoTVMs contribute to less than 0.56 per cent of the daily ticket sales. While 110 machines were installed at the Central Railway stations, 70 were placed at Western Railway stations.
Of the 80 machines, which were installed on WR, 32 are at present functioning and will be phased out by the end of this year. “These machines had a life of three years. Once their life span is over, they will be replaced with Automatic Ticket Vending Machines (ATVMs),” said a senior railway official.
On the other hand, the commercial department has formed squads to create awareness amongst passengers for the use of smart card operated ticket vending machines. Soon railway employees will be deployed near booking windows to encourage and guide passengers on the use of smart card and ATVMs.