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‘Yatri Mitra’ to the aid of rail passengers in need of assistance

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Passengers can book a wheel chair or battery car assistance along with tickets; this will be made available by an assistant

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 Seva’ to simplify access to wheelchairs, battery operated cars and porter services. The scheme will be operational at all major railway stations.

The Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation Ltd. 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, calling or messaging ‘139’ IVRS, or by dialling a dedicated mobile phone number.

‘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.

“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,” Director, Traffic Commercial, Amit Kumar Jain, said in the circular.

At the coach

Once the service is booked, the IRCTC will ensure that the ‘Yatri Mitra’ is made available at the coach when the passenger arrives at the designated railway station.

The ‘Yatri Mitra’ would contact the passenger on the mobile number given at the time of booking and confirm the expected time of arrival.

The IRCTC has been asked to make available adequate number of wheelchairs and battery operated cars for enabling the service.

In Chennai Central and Egmore railway stations, there are about 30 wheelchairs and five battery operated cars.

Yatri Mitra Seva is derived from the ‘Sarathi Seva’ introduced in the Konkan Railways. Union Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu had announced in the budget that the service would be launched at all major stations.

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