Making Journeys Better !

Hey guys !

I bet you are a travel buff, since you are reading this article right here.

This is the best time of the year for travel junkies. College semesters are over , schools are about to close , summer is here and holiday season is upon us. Everyone has a perfect holiday on his mind.

Children are nudging their parents to take them out for a holiday, teenagers  are craving for a getaway and even the parents are itching for something new and exciting. Plans are being made, budgets are being discussed and work is being finished up quickly. So round up your planning and start packing people. Just pick your spot and get going.

Now everyone is  thinking about their destination – How will they reach there , how long will it take ,where to live, where to visit ,what to do and all such things. But what most of the people miss is the importance of journey itself. All the beautiful experiences, the memories ,  meeting new people , making connections and having random frivolous but exciting moments that you encounter during travelling. These are the moments which you will remember the most  while sitting in your room, having a heap load of work. Being a compulsive traveller myself, I can tell you that there is nothing better than a train ride to make your journey beautiful. It is not as costly as the air ticket, lots of options , you never feel lonely and you get to experience the changing social landscape.

Yeah I know! I know!!The haphazard manner in which railways operate, but don’t freak out.

I am familiar with the  conundrums of finding the right train, booking the right tickets, getting the seats,  going through the vicious cycle of WL, RAC, CNF and all.  But now it is possible to know the probability of getting a confirmed ticket on any train anytime. Best way to do that is the ConfirmTKT.com.

Just put in your destination and where you are travelling from and these guys will do the rest- From all the possible routes , dates and rates to checking the availability of seats, predicting the probability of getting a confirmed ticket and informing you about the same- everything is on your fingertips.

This must have calm down your train travelling blues somewhat!  Next part as we all know is the best part. Pack up your bags , put on your vacation shorts,  hitch your ride , and get going and don’t forget to enjoy your ride. It will be great to share some travel experiences as well, but I think we should save it for the next time. Find your own guilty pleasures on the go and you will wish that this journey  never  ends.

HAPPY TRAVELLING!!

 

Railways launches ready-to-eat meals for passengers

Passengers on particular trains will get ready-to-eat delicacies from the first week of July. The Indian Railway Catering & Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) has joined hands with government-owned Defence Food Research Laboratory (DFRL) for implementing new technologies in food processing and packaging.

A spokesperson of IRCTC said that trial for preparation of food with the technology has begun. The introduction of 36,000 ready-to-eat packs of vegetable biryani, rajma rice, tamarind rice, lemon rice, wheat upma, dal   & rice and chicken biryani is scheduled for the first week of July, said the spokesperson.

Convenience with ease of carrying the food and easy disposal of packets after use are special features that attracts consumers which make them buy these products. The products can be eaten straight out of the packets or heated up by dipping the food pack in hot water bath or keeping it in a hot-air oven before consuming.

Another IRCTC official said such foods have a better acceptability compared to their canned alternates. “Human interface and possible contamination is minimized by using such technology,” said an official.

Chairman and managing director of IRCTC AK Manocha said: “The launch of ready-to-eat items will offer a wide range of dishes and hygienic food which will eventually reduce complaints from passengers.”

No service charge on ticket booked through card from June 1!

In a bid to make rail journey more convenient and pocket friendly, the Indian Railways has decided to do away with extra service charge levied on ticket booking through debit/credit card.

The new rule, effective from Wednesday (June 1) says that Railways will not charge the additional Rs 30 as service charge for tickets booked through debit/credit cards.

Earlier, many passengers would prefer giving cash for tickets bought at PRS counters because it would help them save those extra money on service charge.

ffective July 1, the Indian Railways will have many changes in its existing rules and regulations that will benefit millions of passengers. The main highlight of these changes are refund on Tatkal ticket, confirmed ticket facility for train passengers among others.

9 recent developments in Indian Railways

With Deen Dayalu coaches being the latest addition to Indian Railways, we bring to you a number of facts that are leading to the railways’ advancement.
To improve quality of travelling in general class, Railways today rolled out its first modern unreserved coach ‘Deen Dayalu’ with facilities like potable drinking water, mobile charging points and bio-toilets among others to be used in mail and express trains.

Besides the water filtration system to provide potable water, the coach is equipped with provision of cushioned luggage racks, additional hand hold in doorway area and coat hooks.

IRCTC and SSP Catering India have collaborated to set up a five star waiting lounge for the passengers at NDLS.

To offer home like comfort and hotel like luxuries at a reasonable price, IRCTC’s Executive Lounge has tied-up with Leela Palace and other hotels and travel booking sites.

People can book their stay for the waiting timings online by logging on to the official IRCTC website.

Heralding a new era of semi-high speed trains in the country, Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu today flagged off the first such train which will cover the 200 km distance between Delhi and Agra in 100 minutes.

Equipped with a 5,500 HP electric locomotive, two Executive AC Chair Cars and eight AC Chair Car coaches, the train has a high-power emergency braking system, automatic fire alarm, GPS-based passenger information system and sliding doors in the coaches.

n a milestone in adoption of green fuel in Indian Railways, the first CNG train was launched on the Rewari-Rohtak section of Northern zone.

Introduction of CNG train will reduce greenhouse gas emission by the Railways and also the consumption of diesel.

Railways have modified the 1,400 HP engine to run on dual fuel – diesel and CNG – through fumigation technology.

Poor quality food has been a bane for those travelling on trains in India.

However, things are changing for good. Startups like TravelKhana, a Noida, NCR-based startup, is striving to ensure that train passengers get to eat the food of their liking and from restaurants of their choosing.

TravelKhana is a marketplace that allows railway passengers to buy meals of their choice, from a wide variety of restaurants on its platform.

Also, Train passengers will soon be able to order burgers and pizzas of their choice on the Indian Railways website and have them delivered right to their coaches.

The Indian Railways introduced Spanish Talgo, a light train comsuming 30 per cent less energy.

The train consists of two Executive Class cars, four Chair Cars, a cafeteria, a power car and a tail-end coach for staff and equipment.

The operation augment services at stations to bring down the maximum time taken for buying a ticket at counters to five minutes.

The Ministry of Railways aims at ensuring time-bound delivery of services.

A citizen’s charter has been made mandatory for all zones.

Google and Indian Railways have joined hands and came up with Project Niligiri.

The project aims to set up WiFi hotspots at around 400 railway stations pan India.

Passengers may avail the facility for free after mobile number verification through a one-time password sent over SMS.

Stepping up efforts to make environment better, the railways has set a target to install bio-toilets in all coaches to ensure the entire rail network as zero discharge zone by 2019.

Railways has also set a target of increasing the use of bio-diesel upto 5 per cent of its total diesel consumption and also to focus on clean fuel like solar and wind energy to reduce emission in a significant way.

tte-examiner

Charming TTE Soon – Railways may take idea from global companies

 

The curt and often harassed travelling ticket examiner (TTE) donning a black coat may soon turn out to be all smiles and at his charming best.

 

The Indian Railways has been advised to follow Starbucks , Amazon, FedEx , Convergys and Toyota, which are among the top consumer-servicing companies, and make its frontline staff more customer-friendly and recognise and reward them with events such as ’employee of the month’ incentives.

 

While cleanliness in trains has been a priority of railway minister Suresh Prabhu, who actively addresses complaints social media, a bigger headache for the railways is how its frontline staff, especially TTEs, interact with passengers and to ensure it is friendly and appropriate.

“This is one of the major areas of concern in the rail ministry-…it is something that the ministry wanted the study to look into, especially for the TTE,” the Quality Council of India (QCI) said in a report on the issue of ‘Improvement of Frontline Staff Interaction with Citizens.’

The QCI suggested that the railways study the cases of global companies with established customer-oriented cultures such as the Walt Disney Company, Toyota Motor Corporation and Amazon as well as those that follow the ‘train the trainer’ model like Starbucks and Southwest Airlines , to coach TTEs in customer relations.

“In order to make this training effort effective, it is of utmost importance for the TTEs to not only be trained in the right way but also be incentivised to perform better,” the QCI recommended.

The railways ministry did not respond to an e-mail and phone query from ET seeking comment on the matter. The suggestions, if implemented, may prove to be a challenging task for the railways, which operates about 12,000 trains carrying 23 million passengers every day. It has about 15,000 TTEs who are entrusted with, among other things, checking the validity of passenger tickets.

So the railways could now create a team competition to encourage its frontline staff to work better and keep track of their progress through key performance indicators as well as incentivise good performers. QCI, which is a joint government-industry effort, suggested that frontline staff should be divided into zonal teams and should compete over two to three months with clearly defined performance metrics and conduct structured reviews of on-board citizen satisfaction scores through highly standardised surveys.

“The team could be led by the top performers…there should be a clear and significant reward to the winning zone,” QCI suggested. It specified that the KPIs should be comparable with external industry benchmarks and cascaded down across all levels, just as Starbucks and FedEx Corporation do for their employees. QCI cited Amazon and Toyota to recommend formal recognition events every month to motivate top performers and feedback sessions.

Convergys and Southwest Airlines were cited as examples where frontline performance is visually displayed and team competition is created to encourage staff to work

tiger express

Indian Railways unveils IRCTC’s Tiger Express

 

Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu on World Environment Day flagged off IRCTC’s Tiger Express, a semi-luxury tourist train launched to spread awareness among people regarding tiger conservation. Flagging off the train using a remote control from Mumbai, Prabhu said it has been launched to spread awareness about conservation of tigers. The semi-luxury train will take the guests onboard to the famous Bandhavgarh and Kanha National Parks in Madhya Pradesh. We take a look at 5 interesting facts about the Tiger Express

Monthly trips of the fully air-conditioned train to begin from October onwards would comprise of Rajdhani type coaches, having a First AC and Second AC accommodation. The coaches have been vinyl-wrapped with motifs of the wildlife

This is the first semi-luxury train on a tourist circuit having a dining car. The itinerary has a tariff structure starting from Rs 38,500, IRCTC said in a statement

The package includes accommodation in air-conditioned rooms of three stars or equivalent ranked hotels for three nights, sightseeing, food, inter-city transfers and travel insurance, it said

The 5 days/6 nights itinerary of the Tiger Express includes three Tiger Safaris and a visit to the famous Dhuadhar Falls in Bhedaghat, Jabalpur. The train would take passengers to Katni from where they will be taken Bandhavgarh by road for a safari.

From there they will be taken to Kanha for another safari. The tourists will then be taken to famous Dhuadhar Falls in Bhedaghar, Jabalpur, before heading back to Delhi

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