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A platform ticket is a type of rail ticket issued by some railway systems, permitting the bearer to access the platforms of a railway station, but not to board and use any train services. It allows people to walk with their friends and loved ones all the way to the passenger car at stations where the general public is not admitted to platforms. Railfans can also purchase platform tickets and enjoy their trainspotting hobbies. They vary in type: some may only allow limited access and a sharply limited time of usage, while others may have totally free access to enter the platform area. During peak usage hours or rush hours, the platforms may only be available for passengers who intend to travel.
Platform tickets emerged in the 19th century. At that time passenger coaches had no internal corridor, as they have today. In order to inspect tickets, conductors had to move along the outside of the train while it was in motion. Although trains moved much slower than today, there were numerous accidents. Therefore, railway operators began to check the tickets on the platform before passengers boarded the train. Passing these checkpoints required either a ticket for travel or the platform ticket, which was only valid for access to the platform. After railcars were changed, people and conductors could move from carriage to carriage so checking the tickets outside the train was no longer necessary. Most railway transport systems abolished this in the second half of the 20th century. As soon as there were no more checks, the platform ticket was unnecessary and generally was abandoned. However, as there are now automated ticket barriers, railfans and trainspotters buy these tickets to get past the barriers and onto the platform.
Usage by country
In Germany the Royal Prussian Railway was the first carrier to introduce ticket checks outside the trains in 1893. Other railways in Germany soon followed. Platform checks and tickets were done away with in East Germany in 1970 and in West Germany in 1974. In some local transportation networks, they lasted longer; the last one in which they still apply is public transportation in Hamburg, where platform tickets must be bought to access the platforms without a travel ticket. The price is 0.10 euros.
A platform ticket in India costs Rs₹ 50 (increased in 2020 ) and is valid for one person only. The cost of platform tickets at some select stations (Pune and Thiruchirapally division) has been increased to ₹ 10, due to increased crowding at the stations. It allows the person to access the platforms for a time period of two hours. A person having a railway ticket for a train on the same day is not required to have a platform ticket. The platform ticket can be bought on any ticket reservation booth in the railway station. If caught without a platform ticket if the person is not a traveller, he/she may be fined anywhere from ₹ 250 to 270.
Japan Railways Group (JR Group) companies sell platform tickets (入場券, nyūjōken) priced between 120 yen and 160 yen at all staffed stations and platform passes (定期入場券, teiki nyūjōken), which allow unlimited access to the platform area for one month, priced between 3,780 yen and 4,890 yen at limited stations. They do not allow holders to board trains. All staffed stations of JR East, JR Central and JR West, and stations of JR Hokkaido with automatic ticket gates limit the validity of the ticket to two hours from issuance; an additional fee is charged if the ticket holder exits the ticket gate after the two-hour period expires.
Platform tickets were in common use on the mainline network until the mid 20th century, and the majority of ticket offices are still equipped to issue them. The use of automated ticket barriers at stations has resulted in a renewed demand for platform tickets. Railfans, in particular, are told that they may require a platform ticket for access to platforms, but some individuals have cited difficulty in obtaining them. They are valid for one hour and cost £0.10; the last price increase was in January 1988.
Some heritage railways and museums issue platform tickets for admittance or as souvenirs.
While not a platform ticket per se, Bay Area Rapid Transit charges a specialty excursion fare for entering and exiting the system within three hours at the same station.
- JR East: Information on tickets (in Japanese)
- "Guidelines for Rail Enthusiasts". Association of Train Operating Companies. Retrieved 2009-06-19.
- "Platform Tickets - Discussion". RailUK Forums. Retrieved 2009-06-19.
- "Platform Tickets: British Rail Platform Tickets". Journal of the Transport Ticket Society. Luton: Transport Ticket Society (288): 34. January 1988. ISSN 0144-347X.