Mumbaikars, here is some big news for you all! Soon, you will be able to enjoy movies and music for free during your journey on the Mumbai local train. In a first of its kind initiative, the Central Railway zone of Indian Railways is all set to offer infotainment to suburban railway commuters, by providing hotspots at various locations that offer internet access over WiFi in local trains of Mumbai. Anil Kumar Jain, Senior Public Relations Officer of Central Railways told Financial Express Online that the trials of this initiative are currently underway and Indian Railways will consider introducing this facility in all trains by July 2019.
To get access to the pre-loaded content through hotspots, the local train commuters will have to download a mobile app. Once the mobile app is downloaded, rail commuters will have an option to choose their preferred language and watch the pre-loaded movies or videos on their smartphones. At present, the mobile app is still under development phase. Jain also confirmed that the tender processing for this initiative will be carried out post the trial at Kurla railway carshed, following which hotspots will be introduced in Mumbai’s local trains. The entire procedure is likely to take four months to complete.
According to Central Railways, the infotainment service is being launched to increase the non-fare revenue of Indian Railways. The zone plans to earn revenue through preloaded advertisement in the hotspots. The apex body of all zones, the Railway Board has issued directives to all the 18 zones of Indian Railways to increase their revenue.
At present, only luxury trains in the Indian Railways network have preloaded infotainment contents on their LCD devices. It has also been reported that the Western Railway zone is likely to introduce free WiFi facility for its passengers inside the local trains as well.
Meanwhile, the Railway Ministry has identified 6,441 out of 8,738 railway stations to provide free high-speed WiFi facility. Till now, 832 railway stations have already been equipped with Wifi facility and 775 more railway stations are likely to be covered by the end of this month. The remaining 4,791 stations will be taken up by TATA Trust for this initiative.