Railway’ SMS alert service a boon for Passengers

New Delhi: Patnaites have welcomed the railways’ move to provide automatic SMS alerts to waitlisted passengers. This facility, demanded for long, has been provided for in the interim rail budget presented in the Lok Sabha recently by railway minister Mallikarjun Kharge.

The railways’ integrated inquiry system, 139, currently provides PNR status to waitlisted passengers in response to SMSes or calls. The call on 139 is an expensive one for a common passenger. Sometimes many calls are to be made or many SMSes are to be sent to 139 to get the exact information about the PNR status and confirmation of berths as well. Most of the people, therefore, preferred to check their PNR status on arrival at the station.

The automatic SMS alert to waitlisted passengers would prove a boon for them as they would be freed from the last-minute tension pertaining to a journey. Besides, they can also plan their journey accordingly in case of non-confirmation of berths.

That apart, the railways’ decision to provide online booking facility for meals has also been hailed as a step towards further improving passenger amenities on running trains. “The railways should display the number at which the meals could be booked in each superfast train so that passengers could know about this facility,” said a passenger from Patna. They, however, added the railways would have to keep a tab on the quality of meals being served to passengers on trains through the online booking system.

According to sources, the railways has also planned to provide ‘cash accepting automatic ticket vending machine’ at all major locations of railways across the country. Patna Junction will be one of them, sources said and added this facility would help passengers get platform tickets or short-distance journey tickets on their own.

According to a Railway Board official, the railways has already announced a train inquiry information system on cellphones. A wake-up call to passengers on demand is also under consideration on select routes. This facility will be provided in premier trains on a trial basis. Details are being worked out by the railways’ technical experts, he said.