Suburban commuters would now not have to queue up to buy their monthly or quarterly season tickets as the city’s railways are getting a new hi-end smart card machine to replace the existing one so that it can issue reliable tickets.
The present machine does issue passes, but the railways had been facing problems as the three-month railway pass issued from smart card ticket vending machines at stations is going blank after a month as the ink on the pass fades away, leaving commuters in the lurch.
Railway experts said it was a problem due to the humid weather in Mumbai, which was not taken into account when the technology was imported from Germany. “A team of foreign experts have worked on the problem and now we are close to a solution,” a senior WR official said.
Sources said the ticket slips and passes issued from automatic ticket vending machines are printed on thermal papers. The imprint on these passes is printed through heat-generated ink and it is obvious that they will fade away.
“Heat, perspiration, rain water, leather pouches do not seem to be going well with this new form of ticketing and that we are working on a solution to the problem,” WR’s chief commercial manager GS Banerjee told DNA.
“But we are expecting a new hi-end machine that would put an end to these woes and commuters will be able to get season tickets from these machines,” he said.
Asked how soon it would be possible, officials said that the machine is expected to be on WR very soon.
The railway smart card, called the Automatic Ticket Vending Machine (ATVM) card, has been a hit with Mumbai’s seven million commuters and has been extensively used by new as well as existing commuters.