New Sampark With Jan Sadharan, For Polls

New Delhi, Jan 30: | Updated: Jan 31 2004, 05:30am hrs
The Railways has adopted a two-pronged strategy to consolidate its passenger business. For the upmarket technology-savvy commuters, the interim railway budget offers to make travel easier and if more frequent, even cheaper. For the low-end commuters, it tries to bring them on par with the speed of Rajdhani by introducing Jan Sadharan Express and 18 Sampark Kranti Express.

The marketing initiatives of airlines have showed the Railways the way to protect its share of passenger traffic. If it was flexipricing, offering 10 per cent off-peak season discount on AC I and II class of Rajdhanis last year, it is the frequent traveller incentive scheme this year. According to officials, the details of the scheme available on Rajdhani, Shatabdi and Jan Shatabdi are yet to be worked out.

It would broadly mean that points will accrue to a passenger each time he travels on these trains. These points will accumulate in a year and can be encashed in the form of discounts or even free travel, said the official. The traveller willing to avail this scheme would be registered and be eligible for an additional complimentary trip.

Booking ticket will also become easier for those with internet connection or mobile phones. The Railways will introduce e-ticketing in the reserved segment. A pilot project is being started on select Shatabdis which will enable passengers to book tickets through internet and occupy their reserved seats on the basis of computer generated slip.

SMS alerts in case of more than 30 minutes delay in departure of Rajdhani, Shatabdi and Jan Shatabdi will be made. It will initially be introduced in Delhi. Rail officials claim that these services were not available for air travel and even on most railways of the world.

The popular Tatkal reservation scheme which enables reservation under short-notice will be extended to all trains and in sleeper class, chair-car, AC-3 tier and AC-II tier.

The new concept of poor mans Rajdhani has been adopted through Jan Sadharan and Sampark Kranti trains. These will be high-speed lower class trains connecting various towns and cities with Delhi. These trains will be besides 35 additional services in the current year which have been planned over and above 50 new trains and extension of service announced in the previous budget.