Monday, 30th October 2017

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Bye to Ranchi airport belly aches, taxi trauma

Restaurant at terminal to reopen, hassle-free prepaid cabs to ply again from October

By Animesh Bisoee in Ranchi/Jamshedpur
  • Published 28.08.19, 3:47 AM
  • Updated 28.08.19, 3:47 AM
  • 2 mins read
Birsa Munda Airport Telegraph picture

A proper meal and a prepaid taxi service, two facilities that were not on offer for passengers at Ranchi airport, are set to resume by Durga Puja.

The eatery on the first floor of Birsa Munda Airport had been closed for more than a week after the contract of the Patna-based firm that was running it expired. The prepaid taxi service was suspended for over a year after the contracted private firm pulled out.

Airport director Vinod Kumar Sharma said on Tuesday that the process to float tenders for finalising firms to operate the restaurant and start the pre-paid taxi service had begun.

“We will be finalising the firms for operating the restaurant and the pre-paid taxi service in September so that it is in operation before the festive rush in October when passenger footfall will increase,” he told The Telegraph.

At present, Birsa Munda Airport only runs a coffee/tea outlet and three takeaway snacks counters. The restaurant, called Food Hub, also offered takeaway services.

Airport officials conceded that the restaurant was an immediate necessity in view of the increase in number of frequent flyers to and from Ranchi.

“A lot of young people are travelling by flight these days. They expect quality service, good eating options and a place to chill out while waiting for flights. Hence, the urgency to select an agency to start the restaurant,” an official explained.

According to data shared by the transport department, Ranchi airport, spread over 1,568 acre, use to handle six lakh passengers in 2014-15. Since then, the numbers have only increased.

Passenger count was 10 lakh in 2015-16, 13 lakh in 2016-17 and 16 lakh in 2017-18.

While there were only 11 flights carrying 6 lakh passengers annually in 2014, the number of flights increased to 30 in 2018. The number of passengers is projected to touch 22 lakh for 2018-19.

A senior airport official confirmed that passengers had been demanding a pre-paid taxi service for long.

“Passengers coming from other states want to book cabs online or inside the terminal building instead of the existing practice of booking cabs through apps (Ola etc). They hate having to deal with touts too,” said the official, adding that a prepaid taxi counter would be set up inside the terminal building.

He said a prepaid taxi service would have certain advantages. “Travellers will be able to book cabs while booking their flight tickets at reasonable fares. Drivers operating cabs would have their credentials verified for security reasons,” he added.