‘Yatri Mitra’ services to ease railways access

The initiative is aimed at improving conditions for the elderly and the differently-abled.

The initiative is aimed at improving conditions for the elderly and the differently-abled.  

In an initiative to improve the railway travel experience of elderly, differently-abled and ailing passengers, the Ministry of Railways has announced the launch of ‘Yatri Mitra Sewa’ to simplify access to wheelchairs, battery operated cars and porter services. The scheme will be operational at major railway stations across the country.

The Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation Ltd. (IRCTC) has been entrusted with implementing services that can be availed at the time of booking tickets online, accessing an app to be developed by the Centre for Railway Information Systems (CRIS), calling or messaging ‘139’ IVRS, or by simply dialling a dedicated mobile phone number to be activated for the purpose.

‘Yatri Mitra’ or ‘Passenger Friend’ can be an assistant or any other person nominated for the purpose. In a communication sent to all Zonal Railways, the Railway Board said the IRCTC may provide the service ‘free of cost’ through some NGO, charitable trust, PSUs, etc under the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) category.

“However, if this service cannot be provided ‘free of cost’ due to lack of response, IRCTC may arrange this service on payment basis through a service provider or on its own…the service charges, if applicable, shall be kept reasonable ,” Director Traffic Commercial Amit Kumar Jain said in the circular.

Once the service is booked, the IRCTC will ensure the ‘Yatri Mitra’ is made available at the coach when the passenger arrives at the designated railway station. The assistant would show an SMS to the passenger who would also have the same message on his/her mobile for identification. The ‘Yatri Mitra’ would contact the passenger on the mobile number given at the time of booking and confirm the expected time of arrival. Passengers reaching a railway station to board a train can also avail the services.

The assistant will receive the passenger at the entrance and help in boarding the train safely.

In Chennai Central and Egmore railway stations, there are about 30 wheelchairs and five Battery Operated Cars.

“The services are rendered free of cost. However, when the assistance of a licenced porter is sought, the passenger is charged Rs. 65 for the wheel chair,” a railway official said.

The initiative is meant to improve conditions for the elderly and the differently-abled

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