"Even after texting my train number on the SMS service number 10 times, I didn't get any reply. The railways have stuck to its image of not providing correct information to passengers," said Shreya Karamchand, a passenger.
It has been two weeks since the railways launched its helpline number to provide real time information to passengers. But experiences such as that of Karamchand's prove that still much is needed to be done on that front.
The northern railways had on January 1 launched an SMS number (9717631813), claimed to be a milestone for railways, to provide live train feeds to passengers. But passengers claimed that they hardly get any response when they SMS their queries to the number.
And the fog helpline number (011-23747110) launched for passengers in November fares no better. The number was launched by the railways and was widely publicised in local dailies but one thing the railways forgot was to add more lines to the number to reduce congestion.
"It is very difficult to get through to someone when you call on this number and when you do manage to they usually say they don't have updated information. I had to catch a train to Lucknow and the operator on the phone line said the train was on time. But when I reached station I got to know that it had been delayed by four hours," said Shikhar Vashistha, a frequent traveller.
But the railways blame it on the number of calls they get on the helpline number.
"We get almost 5,000 calls every day. We are in the process of increasing the number of lines. Currently, three lines are attached to the same number," said a senior railway officer, wishing to stay anonymous. The officer said it gets difficult to predict real time information during fog as one cannot say how much time will a train take to cover the distance between two stations due to low visibility.
"And the SMS service has just been launched. We are working on the feedback.
There are some technical limitations and the software is being upgraded according to the increasing volume. It will take some time," the officer added.