Shut ticket coun­ters, long queues show com­muters’ daily or­deal

Busy rail­way sta­tions hardly have open ticket win­dows, rail­way of­fi­cials say they are short-staffed

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - HT Navi Mumbai Live - - NAVI MUMBAI - Sang­hami­tra Sengupta sang­hami­tra.sengupta@hin­dus­tan­

Pan­vel res­i­dent Akruti Ku­mar had to wait more than 45 min­utes re­cently at the Belapur rail­way sta­tion to buy a ticket to head home. This is not the first time the 21-year-old com­muter had to wait for long in the queue to buy tick­ets.

Over the past sev­eral months, this has been a per­sis­tent is­sue.

“Belapur is a busy node as sev­eral govern­ment and pri­vate com­pa­nies are here. While a lot of peo­ple take the sub­ur­ban trains to and from here, the sta­tion is not equipped to han­dle the crowd. We have to stand in long queues ev­ery day,” said Man­ish Singh, 23, who trav­els to Belapur for work.

Com­muters have com­plained about the lack of ticket coun­ters at the sta­tions. Sev­eral sta­tions such as Belapur, Sea­woods and Kharghar have closed ticket coun­ters most of the time, caus­ing in­con­ve­nience to the com­muters.

At Belapur, c om­muters said of­ten only one of the two coun­ters is­su­ing sub­ur­ban tick­ets is open on the east side while the rest two coun­ters are for long-dis­tance reser­va­tion.

On the west, too, there are six coun­ters, all of which re­main closed. In pro­por­tion to that, the sta­tion sees ap­prox­i­mately 30,000 com­muters ev­ery day, said the ven­dors at the ticket coun­ters.

The sit­u­a­tion is sim­i­lar at Sea­woods rail­way sta­tion where only one of the two ticket coun­ters on the east side is open be­tween 8am and 4pm, con­sid­ered peak hours. On Sun­days, both coun­ters re­main shut. The west side has two coun­ters but only one is op­er­a­tional most of the time.

Of­fi­cials man­ning the ticket counter said on an av­er­age 20,000 com­muters travel to and from Sea­woods sta­tions.

Kharghar rail­way sta­tion sees a huge rush at the ticket coun­ters. Of the eight ticket win­dows, only two are open for around 40,000 com­muters.

Ac­cord­ing to records, there is an an­nual growth of 9% pas­sen­gers on the har­bour line and around 15 lakh pas­sen­gers travel on this line ev­ery day. Com­muters said the prob­lem has wors­ened ever since the rail­ways phased out the coupon vend­ing ma­chines (CVM). While Belapur sta­tion has two ATVMs on the east, only one is func­tional on most days. Sea­woods has only one ATVM on each side and Kharghar has 3 ATVMs and two are in work­ing con­di­tion.

Abhijeet Dhu­rat, pres­i­dent of the Rail­way Pravasi Wel­fare As­so­ci­a­tion, said: “We have writ­ten sev­eral let­ters de­mand­ing the op­er­a­tion of the closed tick­ets coun­ters at Sea­woods, Belapur and Kharghar sta­tions.”

Naren­dra Patil, chief pub­lic re­la­tions of­fi­cer, Cen­tral Rail­way, said: “There is a short­age of staff be­cause of which we are not able to de­ploy peo­ple at the ticket win­dows. The prob­lem will be re­solved when the new re­cruit­ment process starts which is in the plan­ning stage.”

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