CHENNAI : In the last two years, the Southern Railways has been inconsistent with maintaining the number of reservation counters at MRTS stations in Chennai. Many passengers, especially senior citizens, who choose to book tickets at counters are affected. The number of ticket counters has been reduced to one, at Thiruvanmiyur and Mylapore MRTS stations in the mornings.
N Mahadevan of MK Amman Koil Street in Mylapore, in an e-mail to City Express expressed his disbelief that there were no full-time reservation counters that function from 8 am at Mylapore station.“I was shocked to find that only one counter was functioning at 8.45 am at Mylapore station. There were around 50 people waiting ahead of me, and senior citizens too were advised to sit in the queue. Around 9 am, when another counter opened, the first clerk went for breakfast at 9.30 am.
Fortunately, another gentleman, who was sitting idle till then, accepted our forms to book tickets,” said Mahadevan. He added that for the benefit of senior citizens, Railays should ensure that all reservation counters are open from 8 am.
Until 2016, five ticket counters functioned at suburban and MRTS stations, of which one or two counters were earmarked for issuing reserved tickets, while the rest of the counters were used for issuing unreserved tickets. Among the two counters for reserved bookings, one counter was dedicated for senior citizens.
While the ticket booking opens at 8 am, the delay in opening the reservation denied the opportunity for passengers to get confirmed tickets. Another passenger, K Ramesh from Thiruvanmiyur, questioned the rationale behind facilitating the reservation after 10 am, while the bookings open at 8 am. “By delaying the opening of counters by two hours, the Railways is forcing people to book tickets online, which is unacceptable,” he said.
When contacted, Southern Railways officials claimed that for optimum utilisation of workforce, they have developed Integrated Unreserved Ticketing System (IUTS), merging unreserved and reserved counters at 139 stations across zones. “The clerk at IUTS can issue both reserved and unreserved tickets depending on the queue. We encourage commuters to use the mobile app for booking. The suggestion will be looked into,” added the official.