Long-distance train journeys can be quite taxing, especially when it comes to food. IRCTC (Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation) had initiated e-catering services where one could order food from affiliated restaurants in advance, which would then be delivered to on a specific stop of the train.
The time of order would be coordinated with the details of the train and enable on-time delivery. While this was a great initiative, to begin with, problems started cropping up. Traffic, for instance, would cause delay and since time, tides and trains wait for no one, the ordered food wouldn’t reach the passengers.
To tackle such situations where passengers are left without their ordered meal, IRCTC has now begun to offer compensation.
An official from IRCTC told the TOI, “We have begun offering a discount coupon of ₹100 as compensation from July 2017. The Railways realised that a mere note of regret [or] apology is not enough. There has to be some cost on the caterers for causing inconvenience to passengers.”
The discount coupon can be redeemed on the next e-catering order. An IRCTC spokesperson told TOI, “We have taken this initiative to ensure that the confidence of the customers in us remains intact.”
Around 500 caterers have affiliated with IRCTC to provide e-catering services.
The cost for the discount coupons will be borne by the caterers who have failed to deliver the order.
More than 85,000 orders for e-caterers have been placed since July from IRCTC West Zone itself. Discount coupons have been issued to 3154 of these passengers. 195 of these have already been redeemed.
According to the IRCTC policies, the food has to be ordered well in advance, and passengers are allowed to cancel delivery 2 hours before the arrival at the selected destination.
However, Rail Yatri Sangh has some tweaked suggestions for this move. Subhash Gupta, the president of the Rail Yatri Sangh, was quoted by TOI as saying, “It is [a] good initiative, but eateries that repeatedly fail to deliver food on time should be blacklisted.”
This is a welcome move by the IRCTC and will ensure that irate passengers get some returns for the inconvenience they face.