India's first bullet train network plans to say ‘sorry’ to its passengers if the train gets delayed, even by a couple of minutes. NHSRCL will integrate this feature from the customer service manual of Japan’s Shinkansen bullet train network.
Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train project: Imagine a train service in India, that apologises to passengers for being late! No, we are not joking. In a country where train delays are taken for granted, the upcoming new bullet train service betweem Mumbai and Ahmedabad will set new benchmarks for punctuality and efficiency. According to a recent IE report, the country’s first bullet train network plans to say ‘sorry’ to its passengers in case the train gets delayed, even by a couple of minutes. The National High Speed Rail Corporation Limited (NHSRCL), which is implementing the high-speed bullet train corridor, has decided to integrate this feature from the customer service manual of Japan’s Shinkansen bullet train network.
The Shinkansen bullet train network is being replicated for implementing India’s bullet train service between Ahmedabad’s Sabarmati and Mumbai’s Bandra Kurla Complex. Achal Khare, Managing Director, NHSRCL was quoted saying in the report that a public apology in the train and at stations will be issued, if the service is delayed. Khare added that they aim to acquire the Shinkansen culture, wherein delay by even a minute is considered a delay. They will also explain the reasons for the delay to passengers as well as their clients.
However, NHSRCL will not issue delay certificates. In Japan, the Shinkansen network issues delay certificates to passengers, who can use them at their workplaces to cite the reason for turning up late. According to Khare, they will not issue delay certificates because some particular aspects are radically unique to Japan and there lies a cultural difference between two countries.
Indian officers have visited Japan and studied the Shinkansen network. The officers have observed the process of its system interacting with its customers as well as many features that have evolved there over half a century. This was done to help in shaping the Indian bullet train network’s operations and culture.
At the stations of the bullet train network, crowding or aimless loitering on the platform, will not be allowed, like it generally happens at Indian Railways stations. NHSRCL has decided that each ticket holder will be allowed access to the platform, only before a certain time of the train’s departure. Khare explained that the access control feature will be inclusive of bar-coded tickets which will not allow entry to the platform before a cut-off time. People can wait at NHSRCL’s commercial circulating areas.
India’s bullet train project will see as many as 70 trips per day, running at a speed of 320 km per hour. The fares of the journeys are expected to be around 1.5 times the existing fare of AC First Class of the Indian Railways’ train services between the two cities. The bullet train corridor, which would be 508.17-km long, will cover a distance of 155.76 km in Maharashtra, 348.04 km in Gujarat and 4.3 km in Dadra and Nagar Haveli. It will stop at 12 stations, namely, Sabarmati, Ahmedabad, Anand, Bharuch, Surat, Bilimora, Vapi, Boisar, Virar, Thane and Mumbai. The first bullet train is likely to roll out on August 15, 2022, as per the ambitious deadline set by PM Narendra Modi at the time of laying the foundation stone in the year 2017.