From doorstep to train berth, Rlys works out a travel deal

FP

The Railways is taking its services to the next level. In the works is an "end-to-end" travel solution for passengers, involving doorstep pick-up, porter facility, waiting provision in the executive lounge and assisted boarding, all for a fee and all rolled into one package deal.

The modalities of the project, to be rolled out in Delhi first, are being worked out. Conceived by the railway ministry, it will be executed by Indian Railways Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC).

"We are working on the logistics, and hope to start the service in six months," Rakesh Tandon, IRCTC managing director, said.

The package deal is meant to minimise the hassles of a railway journey, from reaching the station and managing the luggage to haggling with porters and boarding the train. The amount charged will factor in the cab charges as well as the porter fees. Customer executives will escort passengers to their trains.

The package deal can be soon availed from the same website from where railway tickets are booked. Those travelling alone, especially senior citizens, are expected to benefit the most, apart from business travellers who are in the city for a day.

The idea is linked to railway executive lounges, the first of which was opened at the New Delhi railway station last month. Currently, for Rs 300, a passenger can use the lounge for three hours, and meals are included. Fifty more such lounges are planned.

What may be an impediment is the scale of the service starting, for example, with the number of taxis that may be required to be a call away. The option of using chartered buses from certain points is being considered.

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