New coaches, to be introduced in Shatabdis, will have enhanced interiors and facilities
‘Anubhuti’ coaches with more facilities would be introduced in Shatabdi trains at the earliest and the ticket-pricing was being worked out, Railway Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal told a select group of journalists.
Mr. Bansal said he relied on his personal experience for the introduction of ‘Anubhuti’ coaches. While interacting with passengers in the Shatabdi from Chandigarh to New Delhi, a lady, irked by incessant chattering of people around, walked up to him and pleaded for a quiet coach. She was willing to pay double the executive class fare. But a gentleman felt it was a bit too heavy on the pocket and proposed a 50 per cent hike in the fare for better services.
“I think the gentleman’s proposal is more acceptable. It [still] shows people are willing to pay for better services,” Mr. Bansal said.
The Chandigarh-Delhi Executive Class fare is about Rs. 1,000, which means the Railways are at looking at pricing the ‘Anubhuti’ experience at Rs. 1,500 to meet the added construction cost of the coach that will have the proposed facilities.
While the cost of making an Executive Class coach is Rs. 2 crore, the additional cost of for an ‘Anubhuti coach’ is estimated at Rs. 30 lakh. Fitted with automatic doors, the interiors and lighting arrangements will be aesthetically designed to enhance the ambience.
The coach will accommodate 50 passengers, six less than the Executive Class seats. Free Internet and improved catering services will be made available.
All Shatabdis will be provided with ‘Anubhuti’ coaches in due course; however, only one Shatabdi will get the coach in a particular sectorAccording to sources, the speed of the Shatabdi is likely to be increased. So the hiked fare for the ‘Anubhuti’ coaches may well be worth the premium.
Such experiences could be availed eventually in the Rajdhanis, Durontos and other superfast trains. These coaches will be manufactured at Rae Bareli and Kapurthala.
Mr. Bansal said efforts were on to facilitate ticket-booking through phone and SMS, which, in the long run, would eliminate the need to book through the Internet and at counters, thereby shutting out touts.
The process would reduce need to book tickets months in advance — this would save passengers harassment as well as improve the system by reducing the load on the system.