In the Union
Budget 2018 presented by FM Arun Jaitley on February 1 the government announced
highest ever capital expenditure for Indian Railways. The budget allotment of
Rs 1.48 lakh crore was focused on primarily augmenting the comfort of the rail
journey. In other words, passenger-orientation was the major concern of the
The following are the welcome passenger-friendly
measures of the Railways.
Digitization being one of the top priorities of the
government, Railways facilitates the passengers in booking reserved and
unreserved tickets through mobile phones which have almost become an integral
part of almost all.
Next logical step is promoting various kinds of
cashless modes of payment like net banking, e-wallets and also thru credit and
debit cards through Point of Sale (POS) machines; in fact cashless financial
transaction is another pet notion of the government which the government
strongly believes will go a long way in achieving transparency of activities.
Automatic Ticket Vending Machines across railway
stations are great passenger-friendly initiative..
Installing separate counters for the disabled, the
senior citizens and ladies expresses the concern of the Railways for passengers
transporter has introduced the system of automatic preparation of first
reservation charts, which will be done at least 4 hours prior to the scheduled
departure of train.
second reservation charts are prepared, passengers can book tickets through
internet and also through PRS counters, depending on the availability of
Exploiting the most popular SMS system to inform the
passengers about their reservation status, train cancellation and more
significantly, train delays is another welcome initiative of appeal to the
passengers. By extension of online support, passengers can cancel their computerized
Passenger Reservation System (PRS) counter tickets through official web portal
of IRCTC or through 139 and
consequently, the passengers with e-tickets will get an automatic refund by the
Through innovative initiative of ‘VIKALP’, the
national transporter maximizes the utilization of available accommodation and
under this scheme, confirmed accommodation will be provided to waitlisted
passengers in alternate trains.
To increase capacity for accommodation, the Railways
have increased the number of berths
which have been earmarked as RAC.
To make the
railway journey more comfortable for senior citizens, pregnant women and female
passengers 45 years of age and above, Indian Railways introduced combined quota
of 6 lower berths per sleeper class coach, 3 lower berths per 3 tier AC coach
and also 3 lower berths per 2 tier AC coach. In addition to this, under this
quota 4 lower berths per coach are earmarked in Rajdhani, Duronto and fully Air
Conditioned or Express trains. In a bid to provide better service to people
with disability, Indian Railways introduced reservation quota of 2 berths in 3
tier AC class and 4 berths in sleeper class.
Railways’ Garib Rath Express trains have kept a reservation Quota of 6 berths
in 3 tier AC class for exclusive use of women railway passengers irrespective
of their age while travelling alone or in group of women passengers.
Indian Railways has also introduced Sarathi Seva to
assist old and disabled railway passengers and also made it easy for such
passengers to book Battery Operated Car (BOC), porter services etc. on a paid
basis. This is in addition to the existing pick up and drop facility and
wheelchair services. Also, to book such wheelchair services cum porter services,
Indian Railways came up with Yatri Mitra Sewa across major railway stations.
has installed electronic display boards across A-1 and A category railways
stations. Also it has introduced public address systems at A-1, A and B
category railway stations, which could be extended upto D category of stations.
In order to
encourage internet booking of tickets, Indian Railways introduced many steps
like withdrawing of service charge imposed by IRCTC, enhancing the server
capacity, increasing the options available for making payment while online
ticket booking and others. Due to these efforts by Indian Railways, online
ticketing now constitute around 65 per cent of total reserved tickets issued by
the national transporter.
The initiatives listed above make it abundantly clear that a careful
thought has been bestowed on passenger-comfort and they will certainly
transform train journey one of pleasure, hassle-free from reservation to
cancellation with no loss of money, at that.