Same platform to board bus and buy train tickets

Frequent traveller Deepak Panda jumps out of the bus and makes a dash to the railway station to know about train schedule. Panda’s hassle might end if the development authority’s plan to have railway booking counters and an information centre at the bus terminus takes shape.

According to preliminary plans drawn up by the Bhubaneswar Development Authority, the terminus will be developed into a multi-storey complex. The ground floor will be used for parking buses and booking tickets. The upper storeys will house railway reservation counters and an information kiosk.

Vice-chairman of the authority Vishal Kumar Dev said the development authority had several meetings with the East Coast Railway regarding makeover of the complex. “It was decided that while the ground floor would be used for parking of city buses and providing space for passenger amenities, repair workshops and allied facilities, the railway could use the upper floors to set up enquiry kiosks and booking counters.” The last meeting was held in May.

The authority has engaged an architect to draw up a detailed plan for the project. On the other hand, the railway also has plans for expansion of the existing station and addition of two more tracks near platform No. 1.

With expansion of two more tracks, the station building, housing the office of the station master and other offices, will have to be demolished along with the booking counters. Some of these could be relocated to the nearby bus terminus complex.

As daily commuter Panda said: “The railway booking counters and information kiosks should be located in a spacious area and the authorities should act on their plan as soon as possible.”

At present, the railway ticket-booking counters and information kiosks are located several metres away from each other. Once it is near the city bus terminus, passengers can know the timings of trains easily after arriving there.

Chief public relations officer of the railway J.P. Mishra said: “It was decided that the development authority will prepare a master plan for the land where the city bus terminal is situated. Once we get the master plan, we will respond to it immediately.” He said once the authority finalised its plan, the railway, too, would start working on its expansion project.

A senior railway official said while the Rs 80-crore station renovation plan was getting delayed due to funds crunch, the state government had offered to bear 50 per cent cost of the project to ensure a modern railway terminal.


• City bus terminus near railway station to become modern transit point for both bus and train passengers
• Ground floor to become pick-up and drop point for bus passengers
• Other floors to have ticket-booking counters for trains and enquiry kiosks
• Architect engaged to prepare terminal master plan

Now pizza to be delivered to passengers on train journey

Now book your pizza or pasta through Internet before boarding a train and food will be delivered at your seat during the journey.

Much to the delight of train passengers, the Railway Ministry has decided to launch a pilot project of booking meals through Internet in selected trains on Delhi-Jammu and Delhi-Amritsar route.

“We are trying to provide a variety of meals to passengers during train journey and for this we will soon be having an arrangement with some popular food chains,” said a senior Railway Ministry official involved with the project.

As per the proposal, a passenger will be offered to book his meal by giving his name, coach and berth number of the train on an Internet booking site and the food will be delivered at his seat at a particular station.

“There will be choices like biryani, pizza, pasta, burger and sandwiches among others which are otherwise not available in pantry cars of trains. Some reputed food outlets will be roped in to cater to the demands of passengers,” said the official, adding “payment will be made after delivery of food.”

However, the official clarified that the service is not meant for Rajdhani, Duronto and Shatabdi because the fares include the food served in these trains. A meeting was held at Rail Bhawan last week with officials of CRIS and IRCTC to explore the possibility of booking meals through Internet.

It was decided at the meeting that a pilot project for booking meals through Internet would be launched on a few selected trains on Delhi-Jammu and Delhi-Amritsar routes to begin with, said the official.

The official further said that a decision will be taken shortly whether to create a new site or to provide a separate link on the existing ticket booking site of the IRCTC for it. A supplier agency will also be selected for providing delivery service on trains through a bidding process.

Currently about 10 lakh passengers avail catering facility daily at stations and trains, while 302 Mail and Express trains have pantry cars.

Cell to monitor catering dept.

A cell to monitor complaints with regard to the catering department has been established in Salem Railway Division on the lines of the All India Railways Catering Complaint Monitoring Cell, which is functioning under a toll free number of 1800-111-321. Accordingly, a press release here says, any passenger who is having a genuine grievance with regard to the catering services provided at stations and on trains under the jurisdiction of the Salem Railway Division, can contact Phone number 0427-2431010 and register their complaints after providing their names, Train Ticket PNR number, contact phone number and other particulars. Train passengers are requested to make use of this service, it further adds.

Air fares out of reach, trains back in favour

Galloping operating costs for airlines have made train travel — if you can manage to get a confirmed ticket — way cheaper than flying even a low-cost carrier (LCC). Now, the only time flying is cheaper is when airlines engage in a price war and offer low, all-inclusive fares during lean travel periods.

A few years back, LCC fares were positioned closer to Rajdhani second AC fare levels. The idea was to convert train passengers into flyers. “There is no comparison between train and airfares now. Operating costs for airlines have shot up tremendously in India over the past two to three years. Today, average airfares start at over Rs 5,000-6,000 while earlier this was as low as Rs 2,500-3,000. Now, except for special offers from airlines, one cannot expect low-priced air tickets,” said Kapil Kaul of the Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation.

Travel agents report a massive shift from air travel to trains, leading to a sharp decline in the number of domestic air travellers in 2012 over the previous year. Thanks to the increase in airline costs, there is nothing like a low-fare airline now.

“Malaysian ultra LCC AirAsia is planning to start operations in India by the year-end in collaboration with the Tatas. But given the high-cost environment here — especially jet fuel prices and airport charges in places like Delhi — whether they manage to give low fares or not remains to be seen. Now the only way to get relatively cheap air tickets is to book months in advance as spot fares are sky-high,” said a travel agent.

Airlines say the government must rationalize jet fuel prices if airfares have to be lowered. “Jet fuel prices here for domestic airlines are among the highest in the world. This component alone accounts for over half of our operating cost. Unless this is rationalized, fares cannot go down. Let AirAsia or Captain G R Gopinath start their proposed new LCCs here; they too will need to offer fares at a certain level to survive,” said an airline official.

Published in: on February 27, 2013 at 4:48 pm  Leave a Comment  
Tags: ,

Aircraft fumigant for roachless trains

In a bid to offer roach-free and rodent-free travel for train passengers, the Chennai Division of Southern Railway has introduced a new chemical to fumigate the rakes. Methyl bromide, the chemical that is being used, has proved successful in eradicating the cockroach menace, one of the biggest woes of commuters. It is a widely used fumigant for quarantine purposes, cho sen by quarantine authorities around the world, owing to its effective penetration and rapid action, and is used to fumigate aircraft and cargo as well.

Briefing newspersons on the sidelines of the 57th Railway Week celebration on Thursday, S Anantharaman, Divisional Railway Manager, Chennai Division said, “We have employed the new chemical with all proper precautions by treating coaches in atmosphere-controlled chambers. It is has been introduced for the first time in Chennai Division.”

On train, beware of any drink offered by a fellow traveller

More and more train passengers are being given drugged drinks and robbed

Repeated efforts to curb incidents of railway passengers being administered poisonous drugs don’t seem to be working too well. On April 2, passengers of Punjab Mail were shocked when seven of their co-passengers did not wake up from sleep at the Kalyan station. The seven passengers were admitted to Rukmanidevi Government Hospital. They were robbed of cash and ornaments.

All seven have been discharged. According to SC Parhi, Senior Divisional Security Commissioner of RPF (CR), “Most of these passengers had drinking water after food which was brought by a co- passenger at Khandwa. It seems something poisonous had been added to the water. Most of these incidents are taking place in Madhya Pradesh and the victims are looted in Mumbai.”

On February 5, 2009, on the same train, Saransh Bharadwaj of Chote Miyan laughter show fame was coming from Gwalior with his father, Ravi Brij Ratan Bharadwaj, to participate in the grand finale of the show in Mumbai. As the train reached Kalyan station he found that his father was unconscious. His sister received them at the Dadar station and he was admitted to a private hospital in Goregaon. His wife told the police that after a co-passenger offered tea at Khandwa he became unconscious. Rs 5,000 was missing from Bharadwaj’s pocket.

These cases have been lodged under sections 328 and 379 of the Indian Penal Code and have been transferred to the Khandwa railway police. Vasant Koregaonkar, Deputy Commissioner of Railway Police (CR) said, “These gangs commit a crime in one state and then run to some other state. We have formed a team to undertake a survey all over India. This will include the number of cases detected, number of those in jail or acquitted. After this we will take further steps.”…/444417/