Hotel bookings, taxi services and baggage pick-and-drop are some of the facilities proposed by the IRCTC for passengers of the Delhi-Lucknow and Mumbai-Ahmedabad Tejas Express trains, Railway Board Chairman V K Yadav said on Monday.
These will be the first trains to be run by the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC), a railway subsidiary, and be test cases for the public transporter's move to hand over certain trains to private players.
"The IRCTC has come up with so many things. They can provide food of your choice, provide taxi facility from house to the station and station to the house, baggage services like picking up baggage from home to station, entertainment services, provide wheelchair. They are free to do anything," Yadav told reporters.
He said just like an airport is run by the Airport Authority of India and different airlines run their flights on its premises in different segments, under set procedures, similarly, all over the world private train companies operate the same way.
"It will take time but we have decided that we will work towards this. We have started talking to stakeholders and a lot of companies have shown interest.
"The Indian railway will continue to run the trains, but at some point of time we will have to give them to private operators where they will provide services. Just to prove the concept we have already approved two trains to be given to IRCTC," he said.
Safety will be under the purview of the railways, Yadav said, adding that "locomotives and guards will be with the railways, but all on board services will be with the train operator which in this case is IRCTC."
Yadav also said at some point the railways will also have a fare regulator who, if required will not only cap fares, but also decide on route allocation and security issues. IRCTC has been allowed to fix fares of these two trains, he said.
No concessions, privileges or duty passes will be allowed on these trains, according to a blueprint prepared by the Railway Board to handover the two trains to the IRCTC for a period of three years as a pilot project,.
The railways also said on-board ticket checking will not be done by the railway staff on IRCTC trains, .
The services of these two trains will be at par with Shatabdi Express trains and will be given a similar priority.
Bringing in private train operators to provide world-class passenger service was a proposal mooted by the railways in its 100-day plan.