Many amenities in booking and food selection, especially for senior citizens
GN Bureau | February 26, 2015
After computerization of ticket booking that was a big relief to passengers, railway minister Suresh Prabhu took another big leap in passengers’ amenities on Thursday.
These cover normal to differently abled passengers and may make travelling bit bearable as there are no new trains in the budget document. The commoner will be happy with better ticketing facilities like long duration booking and e-catering. The helpline number for any complaint is welcome move but its effectiveness will speak more.
READ: Almighty Prabhu and five-point action plan to rescue the railways
Senior citizens: Increased quota for lower berths for the elderly while middle bay of coaches will now be reserved for senior citizens and women. This will avoid unnecessary hassle faced by the elderly, who sometimes get upper berths which cannot be accessed by them. Online booking of wheelchair facility at stations for the invalid, senior citizens, disabled and pregnant women.
Ticket booking: From April, tickets can be booked four months in advance as against two months period in force now. On unreserved tickets front the 'Operation Five Minutes' scheme allows booking in five minutes and also five minutes before the departure of the train through smart phones and debit cards. Hand-held devices with Travelling Ticket Examiners (TTEs) will help in better ticketing at platforms and inside the train.
READ: No passenger fare hike,Prabhu gives ticket to amenities
SMS alerts: Introduction of an SMS alert service to inform passengers of updated arrival and departure times of trains will save time and money for passengers, especially in big cities.
Differently-abled friendly: Concessional e-tickets for differently-abled travellers after one-time registration. New coaches will be braile-enabled to help the visually-challenged passengers navigate.
Helpline: A 24X7 helpline number, 138, will become functional to attend to the problems of passengers on a real time basis. Passengers will be able to call up for complaints while on trains.
Booking of retiring rooms: Facility of self-operated lockers would also gradually be made available at stations. Online booking of disposable bedrolls at select stations is being extended to all passengers through the IRCTC portal on a payment basis.
Other facilities for the passengers: Nine more high-speed trains, faster existing trains, Wi-Fi in 400 stations, user-friendly ladders to mount upper berths, 17,000 bio-toilets in trains, and cameras for safety of women travelers, coin vending machines and 'single destination teller' windows, lifts and escalators at major stations to concierge service at select stations on the anvil.
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