Soon, get SMS alerts on overcharging as you board train

An SMS (text message) alert at the time of boarding to warn rail passengers of overcharging by catering staff is on the cards, with the Western Railway (WR) soon beginning a pilot project in Mumbai to Delhi Paschim Express and Mumbai to Gorakhpur Awadh Express.

Pamphlets and posters with the catering complaint number (9004441955) and email (cateringcomplaint@wr.railnet.gov.in) will be distributed in coaches, as the SMS alerts will be for passengers with e-tickets only.

"Instead of sending the messages at the time of booking, we have decided to send SMS alerts as soon as the passenger boards the train," said a senior WR official.

WR is taking the assistance of the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) to collect the cellphone numbers of passengers registered at the time of booking. An SMS urging passengers to demand a rate card from the caterer along with charges of Janta meal and regular vegetarian and non-vegetarian meals will be sent to e-ticket holders.

If a caterer refuses to produce the rate card, passengers can send a complaint on the number from which the SMS is received. SMS complaints will be forwarded

to railway authorities so that the issue can be addressed at the next halt.

The pilot will begin in a fortnight and WR plans to extend it to 15 other long distance trains with catering services. "A campaign will start in Paschim and Awadh Express to create awareness among passengers," said Sharat Chandrayan, Chief Public Relations Officer, WR.

priyal.dave@expressindia.com

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