Booking suburban railway tickets on mobile phones will be possible within a month, railway minister Suresh Prabhu announced in Mumbai on Saturday.
“The mobile ticketing initiative will help people book tickets on their way to the railway station. Once they reach the station, they will have to put the code provided to them in a machine at the station, after which they will get a print out. This will reduce the hassle of standing in long queues,” said Prabhu, after the launch of five new long-distance trains.
The minister said the trials for the first air-conditioned local will begin by March 2015. The project has missed several deadlines in the past. On the solutions to tackle overcrowding, the railway minister suggested steps such as operating double-decker or air-conditioned trains, apart from improving the bus and taxi services. “I have travelled on suburban locals and know the problems faced by commuters. We need new tracks, more platforms and rakes to manage the increasing number of railway commuters. We also need more investment to strengthen the Mumbai Railway Vikas Corporation,” he said.
Stating that the preparation of a comprehensive development plan for the city is underway, Prabhu said a joint meeting of chief minister Devendra Fadnavis, Union minister Nitin Gadkari and MPs from the state will be called to finalise it. The railways will also hold monthly meetings of all authorities to speed up the projects that are stuck over minor coordination issues.
Prabhu said the railways will install closed circuit television cameras on women’s coaches.
When asked about the levy of a golden hour tax on passengers for providing emergency medical treatment, the minister said a decision on the implementation will be taken after a discussion.