COMPLAINTS against ticketing issues and over-pricing of meals served in trains topped the list of tweets directed to Mumbai divisions of the Central and Western Railways in the past one year, official numbers received from the railway office indicate. The tweets suggested that the railway authorities improve passenger amenities and other facilities at the stations. According to official figures, both the Central and Western Railways have received 15,876 tweets from commuters in the past one year. Apart from this, the divisions has received feedback on the services provided and expectations of commuters.
Till March 2017, the Central Railway (CR) had received 1,443 commercial issues-related complaints from a total of 8,644 cases while the commercial department of the Western Railway (WR) had to deal with 1,152 of these cases from 7,232 other cases. Majority of the tweets were directed to the official twitter account of the Ministry of Railways, which were then forwarded to the respective divisions.
“Complaints related to catering services inside long-distance trains, suggestions against public amenities like non-functional ticket vending machines or issues with ticket inspectors at stations are largely received from the divisions. As Twitter becomes a direct medium for commuters to express their issues and expect speedy redressal, we have seen a gradual increase in tweets received by them,” a senior railway official said.
Officials added that complaints on issues related to safety of commuters at stations were also received in large numbers. “Commuters tweeted about presence of ‘drug addicts’ on premises of railway stations in the night, harassment cases and missing passengers. On the Western Railway, stone pelting in trains,robbery, unauthorised entry of passengers inside disabled coaches and ladies compartments also add to the list,” the official said.
Both railways largely received complaints from commuters of long-distance trains with rare cases being reported from suburban train commuters that could be met with immediate action.
Punctuality of trains, toilets at stations and suggestions for increasing ticketing options remained some of the suggestions by suburban commuters. Maintenance-related issues, like seating facilities inside coaches and other provisions required for journeys, remain the other major areas of complaints. The Mumbai divisions also handled other security concerns of passengers and electrical failures found in the past one year through tweets.
In an average response time of 30 minutes offered to initiate action against a complaint received, the CR recorded the quickest score of 21 minutes compared to 27 minutes taken by the Western Railway. The CR also beat the average response time of 27 minutes clocked by the Indian Railways to respond to a query in the past one year. “A five-member Mumbai Twitter team ensures each tweet is responded to with immediacy,” a railway official from the commercial department of the CR said.