Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu in his first budget has initiated several initiatives to leverage technology for improving passenger facilities.
Keeping PM Narendra Modi’s insistence on using technology to improve public services in mind, Indian Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu, in his first budget, has initiated several initiatives to leverage technology for improving passenger facilities.
5 key technology initiative to improve rail travel:
1. To ensure purchase of tickets within 5 minutes, ‘Operation 5 minutes’ scheme has been introduced for those travelling unreserved. A multi-lingual e-ticketing portal is also being developed.
2. The pilot projects currently running in the suburban section for issuing unreserved tickets on smart phones is to be extended to all stations. Debit card operated machines are to be added to the facility currently having automatic ticket vending machines and currency options. Hand-held terminals will be provided to the TTEs to move towards paperless ticketing and charting. Going forward, SMS on mobiles could be accepted as a proof for travelling in place of tickets.
3. An integrated customer portal is being put in place for customers to access various railway services at one place. A centrally managed Railway Display Network is expected in over 2000 stations over the next two years. The passengers will be intimated in advance about the updated arrival/departure time of the trains – SMS alert would be sent 15/30 minutes in advance of arrival of the train at destination.
4. Railways will replace another 17,000 toilets by bio toilets this year – 17,388 bio toilets have already been installed. The Research , Design and Standards Organisation has also been tasked to design vacuum toilets within 6 months.
5. An all-India 24/7 helpline number, 138, will be available to address problems of passemgers on a real time basis. Passengers will be able to call this number even while on trains. A mobile application to redress complaints is also being developed and a pilot project for this will begin in the Northern Railway from March 1. A toll-free number, 182, is also dedicated for security related complaints.