GUWAHATI, Feb 6 � The Assam Rail Passengers Association (ARPA) has called upon the railway authorities to increase the number of ticket counters in the Guwahati railway station and to keep more counters open during the night hours for convenience of passengers departing in local trains during the early morning hours.
Dipankar Sarma, general secretary of the Association, said that passengers always have a harrowing experience while booking daily tickets for early morning trains.
�Only four counters in the Panbazar side remain open at night, while the counter at Paltan Bazar side is closed at night time. Passengers travelling in trains to New Bongaigaon and other local places have to stand in queues for a long time to get the tickets. At times, many people are forced to travel without tickets as they can�t buy tickets due to paucity of time,� he said, demanding increase in manpower and keeping more counters open at night.
Sarma also said that the Indian Railways should allow booking of return tickets in local trains.
�It does not make sense for a passenger leaving from Guwahati at dawn and returning from New Bongaigaon in the afternoon to stand in the queue at both places to get tickets. It is a waste of time as well as a matter of inconvenience,� he said.
He added that the old system of issuing UTS tickets for travel of below 200 km three days in advance should be resumed.
�This will be of immense help as regular passengers will be spared from standing in queues on a daily basis,� said Sarma.
He also alleged that ticket checking at local trains in not regular and this allows many ticketless travellers to board the trains.
�It is also a cause of concern from the security point of view as well,� said the ARPA secretary. On being contacted, a senior NF Railway official said that efforts would be made to improve the facilities.
He admitted that the Railways is facing a staff crunch with regard to TTs which at times leads to irregular checking of tickets in local trains.