Shortly after the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) announced the launch of its ‘Menu on Rails’ app that will let passengers see what all food items are available on the train and even get to know each of their prices, the Indian Railways have made another intriguing addition to their service portfolio. According to rail officials, passengers on 25 trains can now choose their meals from a pre-loaded menu and pay through credit or debit cards.
“The vendor will have a POS machine with pre-loaded software showing the passenger the menu as well as the prices. These cannot be fiddled with,” a senior official said about the facility, which will be rolled out across all the zones in a phased approach.
A New POS-sibility
POS machines are electronic devices used to process card payments. These devices have been provided to trains including the Karnataka Express, which runs between Bengaluru City and New Delhi, the Jammu Tawi-Kolkata Sealdah Express and Telengana Express running between Hyderabad and New Delhi. Currently, the IRCTC has 76 POS machines and is now assessing on which trains they can be used, another official said. Meanwhile, the personnel in charge of the new on-board services are being trained at the IRCTC central kitchen at Noida for using POS machines.
The move will not only digitize and simplify the payment method, it will also give passengers the assurance of shelling out the right amount for their food as all the prices of the menu items will be fixed. “This gives passengers three advantages – the food will be from an authorised vendor, they will get the meal at a fixed price and would not have to worry about giving the exact amount in cash,” the official said.
This major tweak in the clockworks of the Indian Railways’ systems comes after a number of complaints from passengers who alleged that they were over-charged for food. To ensure that the practice ensues smoothly, the IRCTC is also deploying its officials on-board these trains to monitor the catering services. They are being provided with tablets to be used for collecting passenger feedback, it said.