From food to Internet available for Rs. 300 at executive facility

The Indian Railways entered the world-class league of countries providing premium facilities to transit passengers by launching its first executive lounge at the New Delhi station on Thursday.

The two-storey facility has been constructed at a cost of Rs. 5 crore as a pilot project for executing the decision taken in 2010 to set up such lounges in 50 stations across the country, for which IRCTC Managing Director Rakesh Kumar Tandon hoped to receive Railway Board clearance by month-end.

Mr. Tandon said 10 more stations would be provided with similar facilities during the financial year 2013-14. The metros and major stations would be taken up in the order of priority though the divisions providing space would be given preference.

Space has been assured at the Agra station and Hazrat Nizamuddin in Delhi.

The Delhi lounge could accommodate about 125 passengers at a given time providing them a host of facilities round-the-clock for a fee of Rs. 300 for a three-hour stay: the Internet, wash and change, buffet breakfast, meal, snacks and dinner, all of which have been factored in the fee.

The business model for the Delhi lounge has been designed to cater for about 1000 passengers a day. The soft launch was done on November 24 and it has been receiving on average 60 passengers —the highest for a single day was 111 passengers.

A three-day survey by the Indian Railway Catering and Touring Corporation revealed that at least 1,000 passengers utilised the first class waiting room at the station for 6-8 hours.

The new lounge aims at catering for international passengers on transit to cities and young people willing to spend money on vacation or business.

Apart from entering into a sharing arrangement with the Railways, which will be paid 25 per cent of the revenue earned for the space, the IRCTC has found a private caterer, who operates a lounge in T-3 of Indira Gandhi International Airport here.

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