Do you remember, just before boarding the train, how the elders would crane their necks, and run their index finger, from left to right, on the chart stuck to the side of the carriage? On finding the name, they then had to check the seat number on the next column, and the age, sex, etc. All this, while keeping their finger or line of sight, on that line!
Physical reservation charts, always evoke a wee bit of nostalgia. Well, that nostalgia was evidently costing the South Western Railways Bengaluru Division (SBC), around Rs 60 lakh, and this is why the Indian Railways has done away with physical reservation charts.
A Mumbai Mirror report quotes Railway officials who said that around 70% of the daily 11 lakh tickets booked pan-India, are done on the internet.
Sunil Udasi, Chief Public Relations Officer, Central Railways, told the publication that nearly everyone, including those who book tickets at the booking window, share a phone number, to which a message is sent regarding ticket and travel details. A reservation chart, he pointed out, is redundant if you have all your ticket and journey details in your email or cell phone.
Snipping this practice of charting is ending a tradition. Udasi explained how the Railways went from handwritten charts, to charts prepared on typewriter, and then printers. Now, they will disappear altogether.
So where do you see ticket and journey details?
Apart from the aforementioned method by phone, you can always check physical charts on soft boards at platforms, and according to a Ministry of Railways circular, rely on the much-awaited electronic charts in the stations, or kiosks that give information when you input your PNR.
The focus is now on e-tickets, sending reservation details through SMS and digital displays. For assistance, passengers can dial 139, and get help from the IVR, or approach the Travelling Ticket Examiner (TTE). According to Ravinder Bhakar, Chief Public Relations Officer, Western Railways, around 28 tons of paper will be saved by this decision.
Interestingly, the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (CST), Mumbai Central and other major stations dispensed of reservation charts nearly four months ago, when trains starting from these stations stopped carrying reservation charts.
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Passengers are yet to get used to this, as this incident highlighted by the Mumbai Mirror shows.
A salon owner, Sunil Sharma, kept searching the train for a reservation chart. He was travelling from Howrah to CST, and was a little confused, when informed that his passenger details were sent by SMS/email.
Well, this latest green initiative of the Railways is one of its many sustainable practices, like doing away with printed tickets, or introducing a solar-powered train.
Edited By: Shruti Singhal.