IRCTC plans pod hotel! Looking to provide next-generation affordable air-conditioned lodging comfort to Indian Railways passengers, IRCTC is proposing to set up a pod hotel near the Mumbai Central railway station. The idea is to provide passengers the option of comfortable stopover with more amenities than retiring rooms. Talking about the proposed pod hotel, Pinakin Morawala, spokesperson, IRCTC said, “We are planning a 30 pod capsule hotel. The proposal is in nascent stages and the land has been identified. We are now awaiting approval from Western Railway before sanctioning a feasibility study.” Pinakin Morawala told Financial Express Online that the pods will offer passenger facilities such as temperature and light control, WiFi, small entertainment screens, intercoms, a comfortable place to rest, personal lockers, power sockets and USB ports.
“Each pod will be 5 feet by 7 feet. This is the way forward world-over to provide affordable stopover options to passengers. A hotel room costs much more, whereas a pod will have all essential comforts for a 7-8 hour stay time,” Pinakin Morawala told Financial Express Online. Interestingly, Mumbai already has India’s first pod capsule hotel – Urbanpod – which was opened in Andheri in 2017. The pod hotel will also provide dining facilities, washrooms, lounge area and changing rooms.
Depending on the success of this pod hotel, IRCTC may look to open similar lodging spaces near major stations on the Indian Railways network. According to Pinakin Morawala, it is too early to put an estimate on the likely cost of the project. Asked about the proposed rates for the pod, he said, “That will depend on the number of hours the pod is occupied for etc. Usually the rate for a pod is around Rs 2500, but it’s too early to decide on what IRCTC will charge.”
IRCTC or Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation is the e-ticketing, tourism and catering arm of Indian Railways that looks to generate revenue through tourist trains and catering on-board. The latest proposal may be a game-changer for revenue generation as it offers passengers comfortable and luxurious lodging options.