NEW DELHI: Indian Railways is looking forward to monetize data information like passenger preferences, ticketing patterns and commodity flows by providing it to interested players and has constituted a committee to look into the possibilities at the earliest.
The committee involving officials from Railway Board and CRIS, railways IT arm, will submit its report in three months. The committee will also into systems that can be created to charge for some of the free services provided by IR such as PNR enquiry, currently being commercially exploited by other players.
“There are some players who have approached us for providing data related to passengers. A committee has been constituted to look into it in detail and also keeping in mind that no compromise to customer privacy is made,” said sources in the ministry.
Indian Railways has been looking at various non fare options to increase its earnings. A non fare revenue directorate has been created in the Railway Board with a mandate for enhancing revenues by 10 percent to 20 percent from non-tariff sources.
Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu in the Rail Budget this year has announced that railways collects data pertaining to passenger preferences, ticketing patterns, commodity flows, train running and information on various services and operations.
Railways has huge data related to passenger travel preferences as it carries nearly 23 million passengers per day and this data can be analysed and used by various companies for increasing its outreach.
“As of now private websites and other players use our data free of cost and now we will put in place system checks that will ensure that they will have buy that data. So, it’s like no more free services and whoever wants should pay and use,” said sources.
The non-fare revenue directorate would look into areas like advertising at stations, commercial exploitation of vacant land and space rights over station buildings, advertising on coaches, monetization of soft assets, including generation of revenue from websites through advertisements, operation of pay and use toilets in land outside railway stations interactive services in railway premises and tourism.