NF Railway have provided the innovative idea of STBA (Station Ticket Booking Agents) facility to 69 Non Suburban Group – 6 (NSG – 6) category stations.
NSG – 6 category stations are those with an annual ticket sale of upto Rs. 1 crore. NF Railway presently has 328 such stations, where income is less than Rs. 1 crore. In these stations, there is no separate staff for ticket sale and the on duty Station Master is responsible for the sale of unreserved tickets to the public.
Indian Railway came out with the innovative idea to engage Station Ticket Booking Agents (STBA) at such NSG – 6 category stations in the year 2015. Engagement of such agents helps the concerned Station Master to devote more time for train operation, thus improving safety and punctuality.
The STBA operators are allowed to sell all types of non-concessional unreserved tickets through UTS, including platform tickets and season tickets, on cash basis only. Renewal of season tickets and issue of senior citizen concession tickets are also permitted.
For becoming STBA the applicant should be a resident of local block/tehsil/mandal in which the NSG – 6 category station is located and is proposed to be engaged. The applicant should be of 18 years of age and have passed matric or equivalent examination.
Railways select STBA for selling tickets by observing the procedure of calling tender through newspaper and lowest commission quoted by various applicants. STBA agents get monthly commission ranging from 4 % to 15% depending on sales turnover.
The cost of hardware and software (including maintenance), electricity and hiring of channel are borne by the railways. The space is also provided by the railways free of cost. The initial period of contract is for a period of three years.
Appointment of STBA (Station Ticket Booking Agents) is of great help to passenger of small, remote stations; as people living in such areas are able to purchase authorised journey tickets at ease from these agents.
At present out of 69 such functioning STBA within NF Railway; 12 are located in Katihar division, 9 are located in Alipurduar division, 23 are located in Rangiya division, 13 are located in Lumding Division and 12 are located in Tinsukia division. Appointments of more Station Ticket Booking Agents (STBA) in about 67 more stations are in various stages of progress.
The system of purchasing tickets from Station Ticket Booking Agents (STBA) is gaining popularity in this region. At present about 5.64% of passenger travelling over NF Railway purchase their rail tickets from Station Ticket Booking Agents (STBA). Railways expect a surge in such ticket selling with opening of more STBAs in remote stations.