Sunday, Sep 21, 2014

Five ways the Railway Budget might make train travel easier

The suboptimal distribution of passenger and freight traffic between rail and road has measurable economic implications. (Reuters) If the government is able to implement the Rail Budget, the e-ticketing system could see a major revamp. (Reuters)
Written by Nandagopal Rajan | New Delhi | Posted: July 8, 2014 4:37 pm | Updated: July 8, 2014 6:30 pm

The biggest painpoint for most of us is the sheer difficulty in getting a railway reservation done. The Railway Budget has proposed a major revamp of the passenger reservation facility by ushering in a “next generation e-ticketing system”. Here’s how your life will become easier, if the Railway Budget is properly implemented:

AN IRCTC THAT WON’T CRASH: Railway Minister Sadanand Gowda says the new format will support 7,200 tickets per minute and allow 1.20 lakh users simultaneously. We can only hope this will mean IRCTC won’t crash every morning when people are trying to book a Tatkal ticket.

EASIER PLATFORM TICKETS: If you are among the millions of Indians who skip taking a platform ticket because the queue for one of those will mean you won’t be at the platform to recieve your guest, then there is good news. Gowda said he wants to make platform tickets and unreserved tickets available over the Internet. He also suggested parking-cum-platform combo tickets to help passengers. They might even be coin-operated vending machines for platform tickets, but we all know what happened to these machines when they were first launched years back.

DON’T MISS A STATION EVER: The mobile phone will become an important part of every train journey. The ministry wants to introduce mobile-based wake-up call systems and destination arrival alerts.

TRAIN FOOD YOU CAN EAT: The Railways seem to have a good idea how bad and sad its on-board catering is. So the budget has proposed ready-to-eat meals from reputed brands on-board trains, with the operative part being the “reputed brands”. The minister also said that he would cancel vendors’ contract if services were not up to the mark and proposed a quality assurance mechanism through a third party audit by National Accreditation Board for Certification Bodies. It seems the minister has had his fair share of railway meals.

EASIER MEALS: Along with improving the quality of meals, Gowda wants to make it easier to get hold of your meals. No you will not have to order a lunch just after breakfast as is the practice now. Soon, major stations will provide the option of ordering regional cuisine on-board, through emails and SMS. The service will start first on the New Delhi-Amritsar and New Delhi-Jammu Tawi sections. So get ready to order Sarson da Saag at Jalandhar.

 

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