‘Digital-only’ payment at Thanjavur railway ticket counters draws customers' ire

When TNIE enquired at the counters, the staff said that the higher authorities had instructed them to accept only digital payments.
The announcement to book tickets using digital payments put up at the counter in Thanjavur railway junction
The announcement to book tickets using digital payments put up at the counter in Thanjavur railway junction(Photo | Express)

THANJAVUR: The ticket reservation counters at Thanjavur railway junction, which were shifted back to the main building only three days ago, have been witness to commotion since as customers complain that the staff were not accepting cash and instead insisted upon digital payments only for bookings. As part of redevelopment work on the station under the Amrit Bharat Station Scheme (ABSS), the ticket reservation counters that were functioning at the main entrance were shifted to the building at the southern entrance on February 24. After completion of work on the counters in the main building, they were shifted back on May 21.

Meanwhile, a glass window of one of the two reservation counters bears a handwritten announcement reading: "Reservation can be done by ATM cards, Debit/Credit (cards), UPI payments - By Order". When customers approached the counter and the one next to it, they complained that they were told that only digital payments would be accepted. "When I approached the counter for booking a ticket to Coimbatore, I was told cash would not be accepted. Though the announcement did not point out that only digital payment was accepted, the staff member at the counter did not accept cash. I had to approach the commercial supervisor who intervened to issue a ticket by accepting cash," said M Narayan (name changed), a frequent traveller.

Some customers were even sent away without issuance of tickets, he added. When TNIE enquired at the counters, the staff said that the higher authorities had instructed them to accept only digital payments. In the two other counters that mostly issue only tickets for local journeys, customers were asked to bring along their debit cards or produce their UPI ID for making subsequent reservations. While welcoming digital payments, Thanjavur District Railway Users' Association (TDRUA) secretary A Giri said customers should at the same time not be denied tickets for not having the facility for making one.

"Also, when we reserve a ticket by paying cash, we can change the train or date of journey by paying only `30. But if we pay digitally, even through the counter, we have to cancel the ticket and purchase a new one, losing more money in the process," he added. When asked the reason, he said the online booking system permits it only that way. When contacted, officials of the Commercial Department of Tiruchy railway division, under which Thanjavur station falls, told TNIE that some counters were reserved exclusively for those making digital payments. When pointed out that the announcement at the counter did not mention reservations can be done only through digital mode, officials assured to look into it.

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