Rail Budget 2016: Suresh Prabhu showers new facilities on passengers

By: |
Published: February 26, 2016 12:17:36 AM

Rail Budget 2016: To make railway journeys enjoyable for 7 billion passengers annually, the Railway Budget on Thursday unveiled a number of measures from high-speed trains to water vending machines to onboard services such as entertainment, local cuisine and baby food.

Rail Budget 2016: To make railway journeys enjoyable for 7 billion passengers annually, the Railway Budget on Thursday unveiled a number of measures from high-speed trains to water vending machines to onboard services such as entertainment, local cuisine and baby food.

Railway minister Suresh Prabhu said the national carrier would introduce Tejas trains with speed of over 130 kmph with onboard entertainment and WiFi, unreserved superfast Antyodaya Express trains, unreserved Deen Dayalu coaches with potable water and higher number of mobile-charging points. It will also introduce AC and non-AC double-decker trains on busy routes with the potential to increase carrying capacity by almost 40%.

To reduce hardships of mothers, Prabhu said baby food such as hot milk and hot water would be made available. Similarly, for differently abled people, the railways will install at least one Divyang friendly toilet at each platform in A1 class stations during the next financial year.

To improve services, tickets will be sold through handheld terminals, e-ticketing facility will be made available to foreign debit/credit cards, barcoded tickets will be introduced, train-on-demand facility Vikalp will be expanded to provide choice of accommodation to wait-listed passengers in specific trains. Besides, people can cancel tickets by calling the 139 helpline, doing away with the need to visit ticket counters.

The railways proposes to introduce 1,780 automatic ticket vending machines all over the country and mobile apps and GoIndia smartcards for cashless purchase of tickets. The capacity of the e-ticketing system will be enhanced from 2,000 tickets per minute to 7,200 tickets per minute to support 1,20,000 concurrent users as against 40,000 earlier. About 400 more stations will be provided with WiFi facilities. Prabhu said 65,000 additional berths would be provided in the trains and 2,500 water-vending machines installed.

The railways has developed world’s first bio-vaccum toilet and 17,000 bio-toilets will be provided in the trains.

Railways would increase quota of lower berths for senior citizens and women and reserve middle bays for women in reserved coaches. Passengers security would be enhanced through more helplines and CCTVs.

It is also proposed to integrate all facilities into two mobile apps dealing with ticketing issues and receipt and redressal of complaints and suggestions.

With a view to improve customer interface, information boards in trains enumerating the onboard services and GPS-based digital displays will be installed inside coaches to provide real time information regarding upcoming halts. Also, all A1 class stations will be manned with duly empowered Station Directors supported by cross-functional teams to make one person accountable for all facilities on trains.

SMART (Specially Modified Aesthetic Refreshing Travel) coaches will be introduced to ensure higher carrying capacity. New amenities including automatic doors, water-level indicators, accessible dustbins, ergonomics seating, improved aesthetics, vending machines, entertainment screens and LED lit boards for public announcement system would be introduced.

Passenger amenities and beautification of stations would be undertaken on priority basis at pilgrimage centres including Ajmer, Dwarka, Haridwar, Nagapattinam, Parasnath, Puri, Tirupati, Varanasi and Vasco. Aastha circuit trains will be introduced to connect important pilgrim centres.

He said optional travel insurance for rail journeys at the time of booking would be introduced in due course. FM radio stations would be invited to provide onboard entertainment.

Get live Stock Prices from BSE and NSE and latest NAV, portfolio of Mutual Funds, calculate your tax by Income Tax Calculator, know market’s Top Gainers, Top Losers & Best Equity Funds. Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.