Come June, passengers of connecting trains can book rooms for taking rest at railway stations at the click of the mouse.
South Eastern Railway (SER) has decided to provide online facility for booking “running” rooms — accommodations on station premises that are rented out to passengers for 24 hours — along with train tickets from the first week of next month. The special service is only for those with confirmed tickets.
At present, a passenger taking a connecting train to a destination has to book a “running” room — if one is empty — in person only after getting down at the particular station.
Confirming the new facility, officials at Garden Reach — the SER headquarters in Calcutta — said till now, the online booking service was only available for New Delhi station. “But from June, passengers across the country can book a running room for the destination he or she is travelling to online by just logging into the railway website — www.irctc.co.in. Only, the person concerned has to have a confirmed train ticket,” said a railway spokesperson at Garden Reach.
Elaborating further, he added that the booking would be effective for 24 hours after the arrival of a train and no money would be refunded in case of cancellation of tickets.
The tariff for these rooms varies on the basis of railway stations. For instance, at Tatanagar station, the charges range from Rs 400 to Rs 1,000 for non-AC, AC double-bed and AC delux double-bed rooms. In all, the station has over a dozen “running” rooms.
“A passenger has to produce a confirmed ticket for availing the facility of a running room. Currently, bookings at Tatanagar and other railway stations under Chakradhapur section are done manually. But, we got a circular from our headquarters that says that bookings will be done online from June,” said station manager Awtar Singh.
Singhbhum Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI) welcomed the move.
“The online booking of retiring rooms will benefit passengers. We had raised this issue at different railway forums,” said Suresh Sonthalia, president of SCCI and member of zonal railway user's consultative committee (ZRUCC).
A senior functionary of Chotanagpur Passenger Association pointed out that there was less number of such accommodation facilities at stations under various divisions of SER. “We had approached the senior railway authorities of SER on this issue before,” he said.