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On new track: Railways to offer tickets at ATMs

By Shalini Singh/TNN

New Delhi: Purchasing rail tickets could soon become as easy as purchasing a packet of cigarettes. The RBI and the nationalised banks will partner the railways to sell tickets through a new network of electronic dispensing machines (EDMs) as well as the existing ATM network.
    The country’s 32,000-odd petrol pumps will also have ticket vendors. Similar tieups with the Posts & Telegraphs department and private banks will follow soon. The idea is to service needs of the people on the move by offering easy access ticketing options that will eliminate human interface.
This means long queues at railway reservation counters will be a thing of the past.
    “Railway ticketing is set to witness a revolution in terms of use of technology like smart cards, ATMs, EDMs and mobile phones to increase the points of transaction multi-fold. Creating easy
access will win customers,” says a railway official.
    In Mumbai, the railways have tied up with the RBI, SBI and Kaizen Automation (a consortium of two companies, one based in Singapore and the other in Australia) to sell multi-purpose smart cards that can serve as railway tickets. These will be sold through 200 unmanned unreserved ticketing service (UTS) counters or kiosks in strategic locations, including petrol pumps, and are expected to become operational by September.
    In Bangalore, the railways are close to inking a contract with Canara Bank to use its ATMs as UTS counters.
Credit cards of all banks will be accepted at these outlets.
    In Kolkata, CMC is a prospective partner to set up 3,000 EDMs. “We are also in talks with ICICI Bank for the use of their ATMs. They have an existing network of 1.3 lakh machines and are expanding to 3 lakh shortly. PNB is also likely to become an immediate partner,” says a source.

The way it works
Insert the ATM card
Options for destination show up. (Press 1 for Mysore, 2 for Chennai, etc).
Once you select the destination, the payment is deducted from the card and the ticket slips out
The process takes all of 3 seconds