Move on digital Rly tickets welcome

The railways has taken a good decision to phase out the issue of physical paper tickets. It is planning to soon replace the paper ticket with an SMS, which commuters will receive when they book a ticket at the railway counter. At present, only those who book their e-tickets online get an SMS. The railways has been working on the plan for some time. Booking of tickets online has become increasingly popular and about 50 per cent of the tickets are now bought online. Growing use of computers and mobiles has made this possible. It also saves a lot of time for commuters and reduces the pressure at the booking counters. Some booking counters have been wound up because there are not enough numbers of customers to buy tickets there. The move towards paperless tickets is a natural progression from online ticketing. The mobile revolution has ensured that most people have their own mobile instruments. The railways have found an opportunity in this.

When the plan is implemented, it will help the railways save a lot of money which is now being spent on buying the paper for tickets and printing them. Out of 11 lakh tickets issued daily, six lakh are paper tickets. The number of printers and other accessories will also be reduced. The railways also plan to do away with the system of pasting of paper charts on coaches. The saving will mean much for the financially stricken national carrier. It aims to save 1,200 tonnes of paper annually by shifting to digital tickets. It will also be an environment-friendly measure because the reduction in the use of paper means saving of large numbers of trees. It is estimated that 20 fully grown trees are cut and 90,000 litres of water is used to produce one tonne of paper.

The railways has already stopped issuing printed cancelled tickets when tickets are cancelled. This will help it save about Rs 70 lakh per year. Those who do not have mobile phones will not, however, be denied tickets and printed tickets will be issued to them. Procedures for replacement of tickets when mobile phones are lost have also been laid down, but there is a need for more clarity on cancellation of tickets. The plan is also welcome for the increased use of digital technology by the railways and passengers. It should be emulated and adopted by other agencies and organisations, wherever possible, when there is the need to issue tickets, receipts or other records and documents in printed form.

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