The Asian Age
Plan for hi- tech rail ticketing soon
The Indian Railways plans to introduce high- tech automatic ticket checking and fare collection systems across its vast network. This ambitious move aims to replicate Metro- style ticket- checking in railway stations.
The modernisation proposal, a copy of which is with this newspaper, also suggests transforming automatic ticket vending machines ( now used only for platform tickets) for both long- distance and short journeys. Rechargeable smart cards are planned for this purpose. The railways are considering doing away with the current practice of etickets on mobile phones or tablets. Instead, commuters will need a printout of tickets with barcodes, or “QR- coded tickets”, available from vend- ing machines or ticket counters at stations. The pre- tender process has been initiated to invite bids to transform the ticketing infrastructure.
Though automatic ticket vending machines have been introduced in a limited way, the railways now do not have any automatic ticket checking mechanism. There are plans to instal automatic gates fitted with requisite validators as a ticket checking mechanism. “The same arrangement may be utilised later for automatic fare collection,” an internal note of the railways states. The Centre for Railway Information Systems will finalise the methodology and technical specifications on the response of expressions of interest, and may process it further based on internal assessments as well as railway requirements, the note adds.