The Indian Railways has allowed re-opening of reservation counters at select stations and booking through Common Service Centers (CSCs) and agents, the ministry of railways said Thursday.
“ Opening of all these booking facilities once again will mark an important step in the graded restoration of passenger railway services and making the task of ticket booking easy for all prospective travelers from all parts of India in reserved trains. Zonal railways may adhere to standard social distancing guidelines and observe the hygiene protocols in view of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic,” the ministry said.
Booking of train tickets will resume at around 1.7 lakh common service centres across the country from Friday onward, Union railway minister Piyush Goyal also said on Thursday. Railways will also allow booking at counters across the station soon, Goyal said. This will make the service accessible to those in remote locations. The minister said bookings will also resume at counters at specific railway stations over the next two to three days.
Zonal Railways have been instructed to decide and notify the opening of reservation counters in a phased manner on Friday along with dissemination of information about their locations and timings as per local needs and conditions.
“ We will announce resumption of more trains. It is time to take India towards normalcy. We are developing a protocol to identify the stations where counters can be opened. We have to ensure that there are no large crowds gathering at counters to book tickets, so we are studying the situation and devising a protocol towards it,” Goyal said.
Goyal was speaking at an interaction with BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra on Thursday.
Railways on Tuesday announced it will run 200 special passenger trains a day from June 1 and online ticket booking was scheduled to open Thursday.
Goyal said within 2.5 hours of opening bookings for the 100 pairs of special trains on Thursday, four lakh passengers had booked tickets.