Saturday, November 5, 2016

Plan to open rail ticket counters in 50 post offices awaits nod

CHENNAI, November 5, 2016

Proposals to open Passenger Reservation System (PRS) counters in about 50 post offices across the State is awaiting the nod from Southern Railway for nearly two years now.

The Postal Department began offering services to book railway tickets in post offices back in 2013. As of now, there are 34 such PRS counters in post offices across the State. Of this, eight are in the Chennai city region, including the post offices at IIT Madras, Shastri Bhavan.

Officials said the department tied with the Southern Railway to take the service to customers living in areas which do not have easy access to such facilities. However, proposals sent to the Southern Railway, during the course of past two years, are still pending.

Some of the significant proposals to open PRS counters are in Anna Road head post office, Chennai and Tiruchi Airport post office. “We identify places which are far away from the railway stations or other PRS booking centres,” said J.T. Venkateswarulu, Postmaster General (Mails and Business Development).

Nearly 1.35 lakh transactions, including cancellation of tickets, were carried out in the past six months. The Postal Department earned a revenue of nearly Rs. 21 lakh through the PRS counters during this period.

More counters would help customers, particularly in rural and semi urban areas who still prefer to book tickets through PRS counters, officials said.

Southern Railway officials said that, at present, PRS centres were functioning in 30 locations across Tamil Nadu. Some proposals for setting up PRS counters in post offices were pending as they were awaiting equipment. However, sources also said they were not keen on opening such PRS counters in more post offices, immediately, as it did not fetch much revenue to the Southern Railway, especially in urban areas.

With the increase of online booking through IRCTC, authorised agents and mobile applications, there were also queries from within the Railway administration about the need to open such booking counters, especially in spaces where revenue is not bound to be on the high side, sources said.

Anna Road Head Post Office, the Chennai and Tiruchi Airport Post Offices are among the ones proposed.

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