## Site news

### PRS COUNTERS OF INDIAN RAILWAY WILL ENGAGE AGENTS TO OPERATE “YTSKS” “SHIFT ITS STAFF ELSEWHERE”

PRS COUNTERS OF INDIAN RAILWAY WILL ENGAGE AGENTS TO OPERATE “YTSKS” “SHIFT ITS STAFF ELSEWHERE”

By: M.S.Yatnatti: Editor and Video Journalist Bengaluru: It is reported that Mr Shridhar Murthy, Senior DCM, Bangalore Division - SWR allowed relocation of existing PRS at Govindarajnagar (Vijayanagar) instead of closing it as per Railway Board Policy. Indian Railways in an efforts to rationalize staff, have closed down several PRS counters at all India level basis. The employees are being deployed elsewhere. Instead of continuing with PRS counters Indian railway's will engage the agents to operate YTSKs. Such people will pay for the equipment and a license fee and they can then access the PRS. But few officers at SWR (South western railway) with an intention to cause railway to suffer financial losses instead of closing they are restarting and relocating the PRS counter, which was closed at Vijayanagar (Govindarajnagar) and they are illegally shifting it to other place at Magadi Road without proper approval from railway top officers in gross violation of Indian railway policy of closing the PRS counter and promoting YTSKs. For easy access of tickets from counters other than railway stations, Indian Railways has open up Yatri Ticket Suvidha Kendra (YTSK). These kendras will sell both reserved and unreserved tickets through PRS (passenger reservation system) and UTS (unreserved ticketing system) counters respectively. A railway has also allowed private participation in the establishment and operation of these centres. In this connection, Indian Railways has given instructions to all the zonal railways including North Central Railway. Mr Shridhar Murthy, Senior DCM Bangalore Division-SWR needs to close PRS instead of continuing with PRS counters, Indian railway will engage agents to operate YTSKs deploy employees elsewhere avoid financial loss to Indian Railways..

By promoting the YTSKs, JTBS counters and ATVMs, railwayhope to reduce the booking time for tickets to five minutes or less,” "Railway minister Suresh Prabhu doesn't want people to waste more than five minutes at ticket booking counters. As it is nearly 45% sales at PRS counters fell after online ticketing became popular. In our efforts to rationalize staff, we have closed down several PRS counters. The employees are being deployed elsewhere. Instead of continuing with PRS counters we will engage agents to operate YTSKs. Such people will pay for the equipment and a license fee and they can then access the PRS. We shall issue them blank rolls with the help of which they will issue reserved and unreserved tickets to people. We want to extend services so people do not queue up at counters. We also want more unreserved ticket counters. We already have 66 Jansadharan Ticket Booking Seva (JTBS) counters under ER. In the first quarter of this year, we have issued 26 new licences though our target was 15. There are 11 JTBS counters near Sealdah and they are doing roaring business. Unfortunately, the one near Howrah isn't too popular. Why do people want to waste 15 minutes in queue when they can get a ticket immediately by paying an additional rupee? To reduce queues, we have also introduced exact fare counters,” ER general manager R K Gupta reportedly told the reporters . Till now, agents appointed by the railways could only issue e-tickets. Eastern Railway will engaged people to operate Yatri Ticket Suvidha Kendras (YTSKs) to sell normal reserved and unreserved tickets through the Indian Railways' Passenger Reservation System (PRS) and Unreserved Ticketing System (UTS). This is an attempt to rationalize staffing and allow people to book tickets nearer to home. This will also reduce touting to a large extent.

Tenders were calledin several railway zones and Allotment of Yatri Tiket Seva Kendra (YTSK) was made For PRS And UTS Tiket Counter, From Authorize Rail Tickets Agent, JTBS Licensee, RTSA, Authorized IRCTC Ticketing were made .A new scheme called the Yatri Ticket Sewa Kendra (YTSK) Scheme has been launched in August 2014. Under this scheme, agents of Indian Railways can operate ticketing terminals at various locations in the cities and towns for issuing reserved tickets and unreserved tickets. The scheme is aimed at expanding the reach of the ticketing systems of Indian Railways and evokes the principles of PPP and provides for revenue sharing between the private operators and Indian Railways.

PRS is a normal ticket counter where tickets are issued in person. .Computerization of the Passenger Reservation System (PRS) is a key strategy in the corporate plan (1985- 2000) of the Indian Railways. As a part of this strategy, computerized PRS had been implemented in Delhi, Madras, Bombay and Calcutta by the end of 1988. The PRS in the second‑level cities of Hyderabad, Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Lucknow and Bhopal are now to be computerized. This case focuses on Bangalore where the Railways had the option of setting up a remote system to the existing node at Madras or of providing for standalone computing facilities to implement the PRS. The proposal Yatri Ticket Suvidha Kendra (YTSK),is mooted by the Railways Board make more revenue by closing down its own the PRS counters, resulting in considerable increase in revenue to railways..The Railway Board has proposed to extend its computerized passenger reservation system (PRS)-cum-unreserved ticketing system (UTS) facility to authorised ticketing agents. Named Yatri Ticket Suvidha Kendra (YTSK), the facility has been restricted to railway ticket service agents (RTSA) and rail travel agents who have a clean track record for the past five years. In an August 8, 2014 circular, the Board has asked zonal railways to select the licensees who will have to put up an office with all required infrastructure on par with railway PRS centres. The Railways will provide the licensee with computer terminals, ticket printers, modems among other things, while the licensee will have to hire two data/communication channels between his location and the nearest computerised PRS centre. While the access to each terminal will be charged at the rate of Rs. 1.6 lakh a year, the Railways will give the PRS ticket rolls, of distinct colour, free of cost. In order to prevent malpractice, the timings of operations of the terminals have been fixed one hour behind the opening timing of PRS counters. While the booking of normal tickets opens at 8 a.m. and tatkal booking at 10 a.m. in the PRS centres, the same will be allowed only at 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. respectively. However, the YTSKs will be allowed to work till 10 p.m. on week days (as against 8 p.m. at PRS) and 8 p.m. on Sundays (as against 2 p.m. at PRS).

Revenue sharing: The licensee will have to share 25 per cent of the service charges levied on the customer for booking and cancellation of reserved tickets. The revenue sharing model will be revised after one year. However, the levy of rupee one per passenger as service charge on booking of unreserved tickets need not be shared with the Railways. Each YSTK could be identified with a code number which will appear in the tickets. The fare value and service charges realised from passengers will appear on the ticket to avoid overcharging by the licensee. The indirect move to privatize railway operations will only add to the fare burden on passengers, a railway employee in the Commercial Department said. However, an RTSA, C. Baskaran, said private players could give better service to passengers.

The Railway Board has issued direction to the Zonal Railways, including the SCR, to open YTSKs at the earliest. The licensee will have to share 25 per cent of the service charges levied on the customer for booking and cancellation of reserved tickets. The private YTSKs will charge 30 per passenger for second sitting and sleeper class tickets and 40 per passenger for the tickets of all other classes. The commission and the service charges will be printed on the tickets. If a passenger wants to cancel a reserved ticket, 50 per cent of the charge will be deducted and the remaining 50 per cent will be refund to him or her, according to railway officials. The YTSKs will function from 8.30 am to 10 pm on weekdays and 9 am to 8 pm on Sundays for issuing general tickets, while the booking hours for tatkal tickets will start at 11 am. The initial tenure of the licence for operating a YTSK will be for three years. The YTSKs will be allotted to private parties who have an office outside railway station premises equipped with adequate infrastructure. The applicants should necessarily obtain clearances regarding the premises from the local authorities.The selected licensee will be provided four counters / terminals but the number of counter can be increased by the Railways if found necessary. They should pay system access charges of 1.6 lakh per terminal per annum. The railways will supply free of cost PRS ticket rolls of different colours. The licensee has to pay one- time non-refundable registration fee of 5 lakh upon allotment of license and also deposit a minimum of 5 lakh per counter with the railways in advance. He will then be allowed to issue tickets to the tune of `4.5 lakh per counter. The issue of tickets would automatically stop as and when this amount was reached, officials added.