Bengaluru: With most automated ticket vending machines (ATVMs) at KSR City railway station not working, passengers and visitors have to wait in serpentine queues outside counters even to purchase platform tickets. This has primarily affected those accompanying travellers to see them off. The station sees more than two lakh commuters. In fact, there are no dedicated counters for issuing platform tickets between 10pm and 6am.
Sources said more than half of the ATVMs at the station were dysfunctional. Similarly, cash and card-operated ticket vending machines (CoTVMs) are also marred with technical glitches. In 2015, South Western Railway (SWR) installed 15 ATVMs at the busy station to ease long queues. Each machine cost about Rs 2 lakh and CoTM about Rs 5 lakh.
TOI recently found that only one counter was functioning in the concourse area. Many people, in a rush to see off or receive a relative, had to enter the platforms without tickets.
Taking advantage of the situation, many ticket-checking staff were targeting those who were unable to purchase platform tickets due lack of infrastructure and time constraints. Railways imposes a fine of Rs 300 for not buying a Rs 10 platform ticket. Saneesh S, a passenger, said: “We normally reach the railway station a few minutes before trains leave. But the dedicated counters are shut and a majority of the machines don’t work. And those which work are not accepting new notes.”
Reacting to the problem, Ashok Kumar Verma, Bengaluru divisional railway manager, said: “We’ll soon set up 5-6 dedicated counters at KSR City railway station for platform tickets.”
In fact, the Railways Unreserved Mobile Ticketing System (UTS) app does not work if the user is either less than 30m away or beyond a 2km radius of railway stations.
In other cities, ATVMs and CoTVMs functions properly and most of them are manned by retired railway officials who help passengers with issuing unreserved and platform tickets.
No body cameras yet for ticket-checking staff
While there have been several complaints about ticket-checking staff harassing passengers by snatching their mobile phones and identity papers, SWR is yet to provide body cameras for the personnel to monitor them.
There have been complaints of ticket-checking staff targeting migrant workers from northern states. In several instances, receipts weren’t issued.
However, a checking staffer at KSR City railway station said they have targets to meet. “If we don’t confiscate their mobile phones or ID cards, they will leave without paying the fine amount. It’s their responsibility to have a valid train or platform ticket,” he said.
Asked about body cameras, Ashok Kumar Verma, Bengaluru divisional railway manager, said he will examine the issue.