Travellers hope new schemes take off

Passengers sceptical about implementation of 'tall promises' in Rail Budget

In a mixed reaction to Railway Budget 2016, passengers hoped that all the schemes that the Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu announced on Thursday will actually be implemented.

Lauding the facilities announced for women in the Railway Budget, female passengers expressed happiness with schemes like increasing the quota of lower berths for them, and a 33 per cent sub-quota for women under all reserved categories.

“Climbing the upper berth is a tedious task for both women and the elderly. So I am happy that women and the elderly will get the lower berth in trains more,” said Divya, a housewife from Chandigarh.

Also calling for services like the presence of female hostesses inside the trains, as in the airlines, some women felt that this will make solo woman travellers feel safe in coaches with mostly male travellers.

“Almost every day Railways are improving their facilities. Let’s see how soon the latest announcements are implemented on ground,” Divya added.

The Railway Budget, however, failed to excite many passengers as they thought that announcing a new scheme is of no use if proper implementation and upkeep of the existing facilities is poor.

“See, here in the waiting room of one of country’s biggest railway stations, the air conditioner is not working. We don’t have an issue with a bit of increase in the fares, but the basic facilities should improve drastically,” said R K Chander, senior manager at Andhra Bank.

Complaining about the long waiting lists, travellers urged that the Railway authorities should focus on the core issue of providing seats to maximum passengers, even on short notice.

“Bullet trains can wait. What we need first is that one should get a reserved ticket on the day of journey. The minister should solve the issue of long waiting lists,” Chander added.

Young professionals felt that facilities like online booking need improvement by making the website faster, and the newly announced facility of automatic ticket vending machines should dispense reserved tickets also. They also hoped to see Wi-Fi in trains soon.

“The Budget should not be about marketing but about operations. Automatic ticket vending machines should not be installed at just the railway stations but in marketplaces too,” said Depesh Wadhwani, an engineer from Indore.

Complaining about the state of railway stations, passengers also wished that the Budget had provided solutions for crowded waiting rooms and filthy environment around the stations.

“I had hoped for some concrete solution for the long queues at the entrance of the railway stations. Just outside the stations, you can see the garbage strewn around. Unless the facilities are provided to the passengers, making tall promises would not be of any help,” said Bhupinder Chaudhary, a passenger from Ghaziabad.

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