What Citizens Collectively Want from Railway Budget 2016

• Want Railways to focus on services and amenities

• Expect citizen oriented safety, timeliness and ticketing policies

• Suggest technology deployment key to achieving transparency

New Delhi, India, February 19, 2016 – LocalCircles (www.localcircles.com), India’s largest citizen engagement platform today released the citizen inputs for the Railway Budget in 2016. Over 150,000 citizens of India participated in this exercise with a series of structured discussions, polls and prioritization exercises setting a new example of participative governance. This report outlines the collective citizen priorities for Rail Budget 2016, the detailed poll results as well as priorities in various areas.

Top Priorities

  • 1. 50% refund should be given on Tatkal ticket cancellation 6 hours before departure
  • 2. No limit should be put on number of tickets booked with self as first traveler
  • 3. 50% of the general quota tickets should open at 120 days, remaining 50% at 60 days
  • 4. Creation of a phone based check in process which will give Railways real time seat availability status and minimize TTE discretion
  • 5. Effective maintenance and reporting of malfunctioning train toilet accessories
  • 6. Proactive guarding of trains by RPF with regular rounds within trains
  • 7. Emergency Quota for anyone other than genuine emergencies (death in family , medical, etc.) or travel of elected representatives should be paid at Premium Tatkal rates
  • 8. Systemic process which is online and transparent for submitting Emergency Quota booking requests
  • 9. Accessible and trained RPF and GRP personnel at stations and platforms
  • 10. Minimizing presence of non-ticket or non-platform holders on platform through effective access control and technology

Secondary Priorities

  • 1. Effective and process driven security and luggage check at stations for all
  • 2. More elevators and escalators should be installed for families/elderly/special needs travellers
  • 3. Effective display of train arrival/departure and coach numbers on platforms
  • 4. All assistance/helpline numbers must be displayed in coaches and on platforms
  • 5. Stations and platforms should be monitored through CCTV surveillance
  • 6. Attendants and TTEs should be trained for addressing/escalating safety issues inside trains
  • 7. Utilizing operations research techniques used by large airlines for optimizing train network
  • 8. Enabling effective allotment of lower/middle berths for senior citizens and women with young kids
  • 9. Hassle free Coolie/Porter services for citizens with an online/app based booking option
  • 10. Pest control that addresses cockroaches and bed bugs effectively
  • 11. More phone charging points are needed, especially on side berths.

Top Focus for Railway Budget 2016

Amenities and Services

Priorities for Services and Amenities related to Passenger Information

Priorities for Services and Amenities in Trains

Priorities for Services and Amenities at Stations

All Inputs on Services and Amenities

  • 1. The quality and hygiene levels of food served in trains should be improved
  • 2. Train toilet accessories should be effective maintained
  • 3. The number of dustbins should be increased and their management should be effective
  • 4. Insect and pest free trains should be ensured
  • 5. The number of phone charging points should be increased
  • 6. Clean drinking water should be provided on stations
  • 7. More elevators and escalators should be installed for families/elderly/special needs travellers
  • 8. Functional toilets should be a priority
  • 9. Hassle free Coolie/Porter services should be ensured
  • 10. Customized train departure/arrival/cancellation notifications via SMS should be started
  • 11. Effectiveness of phone helplines and their information quality must be refined
  • 12. Effective display of train arrival/departure and coach numbers on platforms
  • 13. All assistance/helpline numbers must be displayed in coaches and on platforms
  • 14. Emergency medical assistance should be made available on stations
  • 15. Guard, TTE and Attendants must be trained and equipped with First Aid Kit
  • 16. Cleaner and fresh bed rolls for AC coaches and available for purchase bedrolls for sleeper/general coach should be made available.
  • 17. More chairs should be installed on the platforms for people to sit
  • 18. A separate counter should be opened at stations for ticket cancellations
  • 19. Railways should start a dedicated complaint redressal department
  • 20. The freight system should be modernized and online parcel bookings should be started
  • 21. Free wifi internet should be made available on stations
  • 22. Wheelchairs should be made available on stations to assist the handicap
  • 23. Ramps should be constructed to make platforms disable friendly
  • 24. Online booking of retiring rooms should be made easy
  • 25. Package and pilgrimage tours division should be strengthened

Passenger Safety

All Inputs on Passenger Safety

  • 1. There should be effective and process driven security and luggage check at stations for all
  • 2. Stations and platforms should be monitored through CCTV surveillance
  • 3. Accessible and trained RPF and GRP personnel should be available on every platform
  • 4. System should be put in place that eliminates presence of people without a journey or platform ticket on platforms
  • 5. Ensure action within minutes on complaints via 182 Passenger Safety Helpline
  • 6. Proactive guarding of trains by RPF with regular rounds within trains
  • 7. Attendants and TTEs should be trained for addressing/escalating safety issues inside trains
  • 8. Fast deployment of automatic signalling system and anti-collision devices should be done across all trains
  • 9. Effective awareness should be created about the Safety Helpline 182
  • 10. Using SMS/circle communication, passengers around the passenger in distress must be alerted for emergency assistance
  • 11. The local community must be roped in along with district administration to drive awareness about unmanned crossings
  • 12. RPF personnel must go through regular fitness and customer service training
  • 13. Passengers should be permitted to enter the platforms only an hour before the departure of the train
  • 14. Human errors by the driver must be mitigated by ensuring the co-driver is alert and actively involved in train running
  • 15. Disaster Management communities should be enabled such that any citizen in a train or a local passer-by can mobilize help in case of train disaster
  • 16. RPF and GRP teams should be enabled with technology and made accountable and responsible for a train, platform station
  • 17. A more effective and automated model for more real time checking of tracks must be implemented
  • 18. A public announce system may be evolved in the moving trains so that in case of emergency or any incidental happening safety measures could be taken promptly
  • 19. Hawkers and vendors should be barred from approaching the train window to sell their products
  • 20. Loud warning Bells/Alarms must be sounded to alert the passengers that the train is going to depart.

Priorities for Passenger Safety in Trains

Priorities for Passenger Safety at Stations

Timeliness of Trains

All Inputs on Timeliness of Trains

  • 1. Reducing train halts to a maximum of 15 minutes at all stations (including originating and terminating stations)
  • 2. Utilizing operations research techniques used by large airlines for optimizing train network
  • 3. Using direct approach platforms for premier trains instead of the best platform at stations
  • 4. Starting new satellite terminals to decongest busy terminals
  • 5. Busy routes should be converted to double tracks
  • 6. Dedicated power sources should be set up to provide electricity to electric trains
  • 7. Needlessly pulling the chains to stop the train should attract a steep fine
  • 8. Modern instruments should be procured, which could help the trains to run during low visibility fog time
  • 9. The maintenance staff should be given a timeline and latest equipment to clean trains
  • 10. People should be educated about keeping the trains clean from inside so that the staff could complete the cleaning in time and prevent delays
  • 11. Automatic signalling should be installed in all trunk routes
  • 12. Identify alternative and comparatively less congested routes for movement of freight
  • 13. Remodelling of stations should be done such that major line is through to go rather than to come to loop. This will save time for many superfast/express train
  • 14. Self-propagating trains such as DEMU MEMU EMU should be made as 12/15/18 coaches so it could carry more load, which also reduce frequency and can replace conventional coaches
  • 15. Track maintenance software should be used to monitor scheduled maintenance
  • 16. A law must be made to completely ban political march on railway property
  • 17. Reasonable time must be given for loading/unloading. If the consignment exceeds the practical limit it should not be allowed by station master
  • 18. Speed of the existing trains should be increased
  • 19. During signalling preference must be given to the train which is running on time rather than to punish the disciplined
  • 20. Ensure that the train which is terminated at a station is moved to the parking area without undue delay.

Priorities for Timeliness of Trains

Ticketing

All inputs on improving Ticketing

  • 1. 50% refund should be given on Tatkal ticket cancellation 6 hours before departure
  • 2. A Quota for online Tatkal bookings should be introduced
  • 3. Allotment of lower/middle berths for senior citizens and women with young kids should be ensured
  • 4. No limit should be put on booking tickets for self as first traveller
  • 5. Steps should be taken to ensure genuine use of EQ (emergency quota) tickets
  • 6. CCTV cameras could be placed strategically around the booking windows to catch touts
  • 7. Complete change of names on the tickets should not be permitted
  • 8. Authorization of empty seats/berths ticket allocation of WL/RAC seats to be taken away from TTE
  • 9. Status of the waitlisted tickets should be updated on a daily basis
  • 10. The facility to search for routes for which direct trains are not available should be added on IRCTC website
  • 11. It is not possible to see which berths are allotted till the passenger makes the payment – this should be changed
  • 12. Return and onward journey facility should be made available of IRCTC website
  • 13. Selection of seats should be made possible while booking the tickets from IRCTC website
  • 14. Emergency Quota (EQ) booking process should be made transparent with clear requirements identified and process made available online
  • 15. The number of seats under the quota should be decreased from the current 60,000 seats a day
  • 16. A part of the Emergency Quota must be kept assigned for serious ailing patients & their attendants & should be made available on the certificate of a Medical Practitioner
  • 17. Unused emergency quota seats should be opened to general public after a certain time frame
  • 18. Emergency Quota seats should be priced at Tatkal rates for all instead of the regular rates that it is currently priced at
  • 19. Trains should have a reserved bogies whose reservation should be provided only at the station just 1 hr before the arrival of the trains
  • 20. The advance reservation time should be reduced from 120 to 60 days.

Priorities for Improving Ticketing

Additional Ticketing Survey # 1

Approximately 63% of the citizens surveyed have experienced or observed TTEs taking bribes for giving seats/ticketless travel. This is an area where citizens are keen that through policies, processes and systemic changes Indian Railways must address it such that the bribes taken by TTEs translate into revenues for the organization.

Inputs to minimize TTE briberies

  • 1. Tatkal cancellations should be incentivised so the berths can be resold by Railways rather than assigned through TTEs
  • 2. The authority of manual distributing the vacant seats must be taken from TTE and done through central systems and their primary responsibility should be ensuring ticket verification
  • 3. TTE's should be given a mandatory use GPRS machine instead of coupon booklet to avoid non-reporting of collected fine.
  • 4. Vacant seats must be reported at every station via GPRS system by TTE which should be monitored at a centrally located BPO.

Additional Ticketing Survey # 2

Approximately 17% of the citizens have indicated that in case of last minute travel need, they will approach a tout or agent while another 9% indicated that they will prefer to approach someone in railways to secure the ticket under special quotas. 62% said they preferred to use the IRCTC website while 12% prefer going to the railway reservation counter.

Inputs to minimize leakages in Emergency Quota

  • 1. A transparent system for Emergency and VIP seat allocation is needed
  • 2. Guidelines need to be issued defining an Emergency and a VIP
  • 3. Emergency/VIP quota should be cut down by 75% to 15,000 seats a day
  • 4. Optimization system can be implemented so common VIP routes have more seats
  • 5. A citizen should be able to call an Emergency Travel Helpline/Website, upload necessary document and get access to an Emergency seat after validation
  • 6. Only VIPs should have access to this quota for themselves and for official journeys only
  • 7. Families of VIPs could travel based on seat availability but after purchasing the ticket (or book as any other citizen)

About LocalCircles

LocalCircles is India’s leading citizen engagement platform that connects citizens at local, city and national level to participate in governance and make their urban life better. LocalCircles has more than 1,000,000 citizens connected on it across the country. All data and poll results are an exclusive copyright of LocalCircles so please give due credit.

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