NEW DELHI: Come June and passengers can decide not to eat food provided in Rajdhani and Shatabdi trains and money will be deducted from total fare. The Railway Board has decided to make mandatory catering services optional in these trains.
The pilot trail is expected to begin in June in two Rajdhanis and Shatabdis departing from New Delhi Railway Station. The procedure is that while booking tickets, passengers can uncheck the column of food preference and money for the meal will deducted from the ticket.
“The idea was convenience and benefit of passengers. Many passengers prefer not eating in trains for various reasons like poor quality of food, preference to eat home cooked food and availing e-catering services, then why they should pay for it,” said a senior railway officer.
According to Railway Board, the move will also help in improving quality of food offered in trains. The option will be extended in other trains after initial trials.
“If a passenger complains about stale food now, the maximum he/she can do is write in the complain book and not eat it but caterers don’t care as they anyways get the money for it. By giving them an option to unsubscribe food will make caterer ensure that food quality is not compromised as people will not eat,” the official added.
Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu in the budget has announced that railways plans to explore the possibility of making mandatory catering services optional in trains.
There are also plans that the IRCTC would begin to manage catering services in a phased manner and it would unbundle catering services by creating a distinction primarily between food preparation and food distribution. It is planned to have 10 more IRCTC operated, mechanized, sophisticated base kitchens to ensure fresh and hygienic supply of food on trains.
Railway plans to expand e-catering services in a big way from existing 45 large stations to all 408 ‘A-1’ and ‘A’ class stations.