The railways are intending to provide services as seen at the airport. The Central Railway (CR) are making provision for App based trolleys at Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (CSMT), Kurla Lokmanya Tilak Terminus (LTT), Dadar, Thane and Kalyan stations. Until now trolleys aren't available at railway stations for long distance travellers.
This trolley system will be similar to the ones that exist at Mumbai airport. These are the stations where long distance trains arrive and depart. This will be the second time that CR are calling tenders as Covid-19 second wave didn't attract any contractors.
This would ideally mean that the railway stations will have separate stand where trolleys shall be kept for passengers to place their luggage and carry till the coach where for boarding the train. "Passengers arriving at these railway stations can either book using this App or directly at the station premises," said a Central Railway official.
This will be a direct competition to coolies or porters at railway stations. However it would no doubt bring in more convenience to passengers at large who can simply load their luggage rather than find a coolie and bargain rates with them depending on the number of luggage available there.
The mobile App will also be created by the contractor that will assist them to book trolley in advance. The CR officials said that the contractor can levy charges for this service of providing trolleys plus they can advertise on it as well.
These trolleys will have a stand at the entrance of terminus and is likely to be opened once booking is done on the App. The charges for these trolleys will depend on the number of luggage pieces and other factors which hasn’t been decided yet.
Sources said that people can also make use of this trolley after reaching the station premises and paying at the stand there. The CR officials claim that this tender will be for 5 years and they will earn through non-fare revenue model.
However this hasn’t gone down well with the railway unions. “If there is a trolley available then who will hail a coolie, which has been a vital trade in Indian Railways for years now,” said a senior union leader.
The unions claim that use of trolley in stations like Dadar, Kalyan and Thane would be difficult as it will be difficult to keep them at platforms and stations due to space crunch. The pandemic and lockdown had greatly affected the coolies and their livelihood.
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