July 23, 2018
In a bid to enhance its services, the Indian Railways has partnered with MakeMyTrip to provide live status updates of trains through WhatsApp, which is currently the most popular instant messaging platform. Passengers can get updates regarding train timings, booking status, cancellation, platform number on which the train will arrive, by sending a request through WhatsApp. This will alleviate people’s dependence to call on 139 to get train status. This is one of the many initiatives undertaken by the Indian Railways to improve customers travel experience.
In order to avail this facility, passengers are required to save the number 7349389104 (via MakeMyTrip) on their mobile phones. When an update is required, they will have to send a specific train number on the afore-mentioned number through WhatsApp, and details of the respective train will be provided to them. If the server is not busy, one can expect to get a response within 10 seconds of making the request. However, passengers should be mindful that their train number won’t reach the server until they see two blue ticks on the WhatsApp text, which indicates that the message was delivered successfully.
In the recent past, the Railways had revamped its official website to make its services more easily accessible. The changes include:
a) An easy-to-use web interface.
b) Train search without logging-in to the website.
c) Details about train availability, departure, and arrival available on the homepage itself.
d) Option to change font-size of the website for a comfortable viewing experience.
e) Waitlist prediction feature through which users can ascertain the probability of a waitlisted or an RAC (Reservation Against Cancellation) ticket to get confirmed.
f) Technological advancements in the new User Interface (UI) which facilitates seamless navigation through the website on mobile, desktop, laptop, and tablet.
Additionally, Piyush Goyal, Railways Minister, rolled out a new facility to enhance the onboard catering service offered by the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC). Now, trains that have pantries will have an IRCTC manager to address food-related complaints. The manager would attend to the complaints even when the train is on its course. For this, a dedicated berth or seat has been reserved for the IRCTC manager. The manager would report to the ‘Train Captain’ at the railway station from where the train originates. He will carry an authority-letter and a valid ID proof.
Further, the Railways re-hauled the schedule of around 200 trains to address the problems of train delays, which is an irksome experience for most passengers. While the year 2015-2016 recorded 77.4 per cent punctuality of trains, the subsequent years have seen a drop in that figure with 76.69 per cent in 2016-17, and 71.39 per cent in 2017-18.