Last Monday I made a one day visit with my sister to Chennai and the trip though refreshing, as I got to catch up with her, had with it a few experiences attached - which were a mix of plesant and no so pleasant ones as well. Well to start with, a pleasant one.
As I reached station early for a change (one of the rare times that I reached the station an hour in advance) I had the chance to look around a bit of Bangalore Central station. What attracted my attention in particular was the automated platform ticket machine. There have been many times when I had to queue up for a long time to get a single platform ticket for just Rs.3/- .
To start with, this machine looks pretty clean ( according to general standards at railway stations) and thus inviting. The signage is placed at a good height and protrudes at a right angle from the top of the machine thus increasing visibility from both sides.
Taking a look at the instructions, being broken down into two clear columns makes it much easier for the user to comprehend based on which mode of transaction to opt for.
I was often irritated to come across machines which accepted coins of just a single denomination. However, this is well tackled in this macine with it accepting Rs. 1/2/5 coins in a combination for a maximum of 3 tickets for a single transaction. So we have a new machine here which accepts all the coins in my wallet and recognizes each one of them once inserted. It is also clearly communicated that " Machine gives no change!"
The display comes alive once you have put in a coin and recognises the coin you inserted and tells you how many more coins to insert depending on the number of tickets you want.
Ok..... now talking about the real output - the ticket. The ticket is a neat square piece of paper with the relevant information on it and more importantly the right ones highlighted by a larger size.
For me the experience of using this machine was abosolutely new and more importantly hassle free. Kudos to South Indian Railway for experimenting and introducing this macine and I really hope to see these machines installed all across the important stations thus leading to lesser queues.
My sisiter being with me alongside commented that this must be a foreign made machine which I being a design student vehemently opposed saying that in India also we have the manpower to come up with such a technology. Well, my belief didnt serve me right till I found out that this machine is produced by a german company called Hectronic who are in this business for 50 years already and have a few models ready for parking and ticketing machines.
Whatever it might be, I will surely be looking around for this macine next time I visit a station to drop anyone :-)