The Indian Railways said on Wednesday it would launch trials of the optional catering service on two premier trains.
Beginning Thursday, catering services will be made optional in the Nizamuddin-Mumbai August Kranti Rajdhani Express and the Pune-Secundarabad Shatabdi Express. The trial will be on for 45 days.
If it succeeds, services will be extended to all mail and express trains across the country, officials said.
Passengers will have the choice of opting out of catering inside the train at the time of booking, in which case they will pay a lesser fare. The catering component of passenger fares ranges from Rs. 175/- to Rs.340/-, depending on the distance of travel being undertaken by a particular passenger.
“This experiment is in continuation with the commitment made in this year’s budgetary announcement”, Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu said.
Facing flak for the poor quality of food served on trains, the NDA government has been encouraging the e-catering option by permitting food aggregators to supply choice meals at 400 stations across the country.
Addressing a function, Prabhu said the Railways was pursuing a total of 101 initiatives for passenger welfare.
He inaugurated an elevated booking office and escalator at Kandivali station and two escalators at Goregaon station in Mumbai.