Mumbai: ATMs in railway stations will no longer be only cash-vending machines but will also provide long-distance railway tickets, sparing bank account holders the trouble of waiting in long-winding queues at counters.
Six public sector banks have entered into an agreement with Indian Railways to provide this facility in their dual-purpose ATMs to be installed in select railway stations across the country. More than 1,000 such ATMs are proposed to be installed.
The six banks are State Bank of India, Canara Bank, Punjab National Bank, Dena Bank, Union Bank of India and Bank of Baroda and their customers will be able to avail this facility.
Central and Western Railway officials told PTI that they have already started the process of installing the ATMs and the process of dialogue with the banks for zeroing in on their location at the stations was being finalised.
As many as 190 ATMs are proposed to be installed on the Central Railway (CR) and 193 on the Western Railway (WR).
“We will be installing 190 ATMs on Central Railway and the space to be allotted in the stations has also been finalised,” CR’s chief commercial manager (passenger marketing), Shailendra Kumar, said.
A high number of ATMs will be installed on Mumbai’s suburban stations, he said, adding that it was likely that by this year-end they could get operational.
With the Mumbai region having heavy traffic, it was only natural to install a high number of ATMs here, a senior WR official said. “The purpose is to reduce crowding and make it as pleasant as possible for travellers,” Kumar said.
Western Railway has already discussed with banks about space to be allotted for the ATMs in nearly 80% of the cases, the official said.
The ATM locations will be such that “they will not impinge on the free-flow of passengers within the station,” he said.
The banks will be installing the ATMs along with a kiosk where ticketing transactions will take place while customers can conduct their cash and fund transfer transactions, and balance enquiry at the ATMs.
State Bank of India will instal the major chunk of 681 ATMs across the country, including 300 at small stations in the interior areas.
Another public sector lender, Dena Bank, plans to instal its ATMs at 117 railway stations, which includes all metros and several of Mumbai’s suburban stations, while Union Bank of India will be installing 66 ATMs across ten centres in the country.
Bank of Baroda’s chairman, A K Khandelwal, had also recently announced his bank’s initiative in this regard. The bank plans to instal 201 ATMs. “A few have already been installed, the first being in Delhi, while the others will be installed after sorting out some logistics issues,” a bank official said.