The Mumbai division of Central Railway will soon introduce sleeping pods, also known as pod hotel, at the scenic hill station of Matheran. This initiative is part of the New Innovative Non-Fare Revenue Income Scheme (NINFRIS) of the Indian Railways.
“This follows the success of the sleeping pods at Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus, Mumbai, which has garnered widespread acceptance among passengers,” said an official. Matheran, renowned as the closest and most sought-after tourist destination for residents of Mumbai and the surrounding areas, is serviced by the historic Neral-Matheran Toy Train.
According to Central Railway, a contract for the development and operation of the pod hotel has been awarded through an e-auction. The successful bidder secured the contract for an annual amount of Rs 8.19 lakh. The total contract period spans 10 years, with a provision for a 10 per cent annual escalation in license fees after the completion of the first three years of the contract. Spanning a generous total area of 758.77 sq mt, the project aims to further elevate the tourism experience in Matheran.
“The pod hotel at Matheran will feature single pods, double pods and family pods, providing a range of accommodation options to cater to the diverse needs of tourists. These air-conditioned pods are designed to offer maximum comfort and privacy, equipped with modern amenities such as mobile charging facilities, locker room services, fire alarms, intercom systems, deluxe toilet and bathroom facilities, among others. Booking options for the pod hotel are flexible, with tourists able to reserve pods through both physical means at the reception and online via a dedicated mobile app,” said an official.
He said, “Introduction of sleeping pods will not only enhance the overall experience for tourists but also contribute significantly to the local economy by promoting tourism and providing employment opportunities.”