BENGALURU: A novel initiative by the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) can finally put an end to the hassles faced by passengers in finding a cab or porter.
‘Concierge Services’, as it is stylishly billed, was quietly introduced on an experimental basis just three days ago in Mysuru for the Shatabdi Express. This is said to be the first such facility in South India. The services can be availed as a combo of both cab and porter or only one of these options.
IRCTC tourism manager P Sam Joseph told Express, “Presently, the service needs to be booked at least 36 hours in advance so that the allotment of individual taxis and porters can be taken care of by IRCTC.” The facilities can be reserved while booking tickets through IRCTC website. “The passenger will be provided details about the cab 45 minutes before the arrival of the train at the destination,” he said.
This will be a big move towards ensuring the safety of passengers, particularly women, as all the cabs are empanelled service providers of IRCTC tour packages and the credentials of drivers have been thoroughly checked, Joseph said.
The plan is to have railway supervisors near the train to ensure that a particular porter is allotted to a passenger. “In future, we hope to put in place some other system once we see the response this service generates,” Joseph said.
The porter service at Mysuru has been fixed at `225 for two pieces of luggage. The cost for every additional bag will depend on the weight. Informal talks were held with the porters, who have agreed to the plan.
The cab charges have been fixed at a minimum of `600 (plus taxes) for all areas falling within a radius of 20 km from the station. The facility will be extended to Madurai in Tamil Nadu and Ernakulam in Kerala in the first week of February and Bengaluru is next in the pipeline.
Joseph said for Bengaluru City Railway Station the services will initially be introduced for the Rajdhani Express from Delhi and Shatabdi Express from Chennai.
“We are still working out the fares to be fixed for Bengaluru. We are bearing in mind that it is a very competitive place for cab operators,” Joseph said.