Online facility sounds knell for rail booking centres

Online facility sounds knell for rail booking centres

Once much sought after, the computerised passenger reservation centres of the Railways in the City seem to have outlived their utility. The South Western Railways closed down two such centres - one each in Indiranagar and Austin Town with effect from September 1.

While both these centres have been operative for the past decade and a half, for the convenience of many railway users to book tickets, officials say that over the years the response at these and many others centres has been dwindling. Courtesy, the availability of tickets online.

According to officials, about 50 per cent of tickets are now booked online.
Sanjiv Aggarwal, Divisional Railway Manager, Bengaluru, told Deccan Herald, “The response at these counters has, of late, been poor and it is not feasible to keep the centres running when the public is not using them. At the same time, we are augmenting those centres which are doing well with extra counters. As more and more passengers now book tickets online, the counters may be phased out in the near future,” he said.

Aggarwal said that the decision to close down the centres would be reviewed after six months. If the closure is adversely affecting the travelling public, the same could be revived. Officials said that the capacity of two other existing centres - at Baiyapannahalli and ASC centre, Old Airport Road - which are getting good response is being increased with one extra counter each. Another computerised reservation centre at K R Market, which was earlier slated for closure, will remain functional, said officials.
Not everyone is pleased with the Railways’ decision to close centres.

Prakash, a regular commuter who frequently travels across cities for his cloth business, said, “Not everyone has access to Internet at all times and many old-timers cannot book tickets online. Also, most of the times, IRCTC’s website is down due to heavy online traffic. So, many would still prefer to book tickets physically at a counter than stare at the uncertainty of getting tickets online.”

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