A slew of changes are in store for railways commuters, as the Indian Railways is rolling out several amenities in 2019 to enhance its passenger experience and ensure transparency in catering services.
In a top-level review meeting with senior railway officials on Thursday, Union Railway Minister Piyush Goyal gave directions for the roadmap of forthcoming January-March 2019 quarter and said that it was necessary to monitor the progress to ensure better performance, reports PTI.
So here’s are seven changes that are in store for commuters of the national transporter for 2019:
1. No tips
Despite having mandated the ‘no tips’ policy on multiple occasions, many of us have been harassed by railway caterers for additional tips. Starting this year, the IRCTC plans to strictly monitor this to ensure that passengers are no longer haggled by catering service providers.
2. No bill, free meal
Taking a cue from prominent food chains in cities, IRCTC is presenting passengers the option of not paying for the service if the caterer does not issue a bill. With this move, the national transporter intends to stop the overcharging of food products by errant catering staff.
3. Live streaming of kitchens
Complaints about the quality of food served on trains will soon be a thing of the past as the IRCTC is employing different ways to tackle this problem. Of these, one includes the live streaming of its kitchens. By showcasing the hygienic conditions in which food is being prepared, the transporter hopes to win back the trust of its customers through absolute transparency.
4. Green Field Base kitchens
About 9 locations have been identified by IRCTC to set up Green Field Base kitchens, and a budget target of Rs 15 crore has already been allocated for setting up new kitchen and production units, and renovating the existing ones. The locations include Kanpur, Hazrat Nizamuddin (Delhi), Howrah, Patna, Secunderabad, Vijayawada, Egmore (Chennai), Ahmedabad and Ratnagiri.
5. Helpline for non-security complaints
As part of the direct instructions issued by the railway minister, a single helpline for all non-security complaints is in the pipeline. Expected to begin by January end, this platform intends to help passengers share their grievances and ensure better customer service.
6. Rate list on trains with catering facility
By March, any train that has a catering facility on board will have a rate list displaying prices of menu inclusive of GST which will be printed on a tin plaque. The plaque will carry the ‘No tips please, if no bill, your meal is free’ message to alert the passengers from being cheated. Also, PoS (point of sale) machines and bill generating machines will be distributed in all trains to the catering staff and TTEs by the end of March.
7. Extended Wi-Fi connectivity
A large number of railway stations across the country continue to lack WiFi connectivity, contrary to what was promised by policymakers in the past. From the existing 723 stations, the authorities hope to raise the number to 2000, and reward the Division Railway Managers who achieve early completion of WiFi work at stations.
(Edited by Gayatri Mishra)