From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : BTS
Mains level : Reforms in railway sector
- The Western and Central Railways have introduced a new Biometric Token System (BTS) that seeks to streamline the process of boarding unreserved coaches.
What is Biometric Token System (BTS)?
- The Western and Central Railways have introduced a new system by which passengers travelling in the general coach, where seats are not reserved, are given a token roughly three hours before the train’s departure.
- These tokens are given on a first-come, first-served basis, and carry a serial number on them, which governs the order in which passengers will board the train.
- Passengers with valid tickets are required to place their fingers on a scanner, and are issued a token with a serial number against their biometric data.
- Passengers must queue up and enter the compartment in the order of their serial numbers.
- The tokens are issued three hours before a train’s departure. The use of biometrics cuts out the touts, and helps genuine passengers.
Why such move?
- Boarding ‘general’ compartments — in which seating is not reserved — especially in long-distance trains leaving major cities, has always been an ordeal for passengers.
- The massive mismatch between the numbers of travellers and the available seats drives people to queue up on platforms up to 10 hours in advance.
- Chaos at the time of boarding has led to stampedes and even deaths in the past.
- Gangs of touts ‘reserve’ seats for a price, and those who can’t pay suffer.
Why use BTS?
- The use of biometrics (fingerprint) rules out touts and ensures only bonafide travellers receive a token.
- The data (captured in the machines) will be used to analyse the pattern of crowds and the patronage of trains.
- In case of a mishap, officials will have details of the passengers, and with the help of this (biometric information) they can prevent black marketing of unreserved tickets.