CHENNAI: A year after introducing ‘train captains’ (nominated ticket checking staff) to monitor and address the rail passengers’ complaints and grievances in select long-distance trains, the Indian Railways has decided to designate Train Captains in all express and superfast trains.
This means that passengers will no longer need to look for specific workers for raising grievances during travel. “The passengers can now directly contact the captain, who will in turn coordinate with the on-board workers and other departments in nearby stations to fix the problems, “ said a senior railway official.
For effective control and supervision to ensure improvement in services, the railway board has directed that all on-board railway personnel and supervisors of outsourced agencies shall report to the captain. “Women passengers can directly approach captains for safety-related grievances since all on-board railway personnel including the Government Railway Police and RPF will report to him,” said the official quoting the Railway Board’s order issued on Thursday.
With an objective of improving passenger services, the Southern Railway last year introduced captains in four trains — Chennai-Mettupalayam Nilgiri Express, Thiruvananthapuram-Chennai Mail Thiruvananthapuram-Chennai Express and Mangaluru Central-Chennai Central Mail.“The on-board cleaning services and concept of captains introduced in select trains last year have gone down well with passengers. So, the Railways has decided to nominate captains in all trains,” added the official.
The Railway Board’s directive issued by Transformation Cell’s Executive Director Niraj Sahay has directed all zonal railways, including the Southern Railway, to deploy a senior ticket checking staff as captain in all express and superfast trains at the earliest.
“The ticket checking staff should wear the train captain badge. The zonal railway may also ensure that the name and contact number of the captain is made available to the passengers through reservation charts pasted at stations. During the journey, on board announcement at convenient timings must be ensured to provide the name and contact number of the train captain to the travelling passengers,” reads the board order.
The move did not go down well with ticket examiners. A section of ticket checking staff are worried as the move may increase their work burden and TTEs are heavily short-staffed in the Southern Railway. “Until a few years ago, a TTE was assigned for ticket verification for one or two coaches, besides handling passenger complaints. But these days TTEs are manning at least four to five sleeper coaches in both Tamil Nadu and Kerala. Without increasing the TTE’s strength, implementing such a move will not make any difference,” said a TTE from Egmore.