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Railways may deploy undercover sleuths in stations and trains to check for discrepancies in services

Called “mystery shoppers”, the undercover sleuths will look like normal passengers, but keep a keen eye on amenities — food, staff behaviour and quality on trains and at stations — and rate them on their performance.

india Updated: Jun 14, 2018 19:26 IST
Press Trust of India
Press Trust of India
Press Trust of India, New Delhi
Railways,undercover sleuths,railway station
Officials said the railway board is in the process of deciding if NGOs and other civil society groups can be engaged to man stations and trains.(HT/Photo for representation)

Railways is mulling a proposal to have undercover sleuths manning railway stations and trains to check for anomalies in services offered by the national transporter, a senior official said in New Delhi on Thursday.

Called “mystery shoppers” they will look like normal passengers, but keep a keen eye on amenities — food, staff behaviour and quality on trains and at stations — and rate them on their performance.

This system was developed in the early 20th century in the US and UK by firms wanting to evaluate standards being maintained by employees. Now, it is the chosen method of big companies to rate their services from the standpoint of consumers.

“This is one of the many proposals that are being currently considered by the railway board to monitor our services. The details are yet to be finalised,” the official said.

The “mystery shoppers” will have set parameters by which they will rate the amenities by interacting with passengers, staff members and other officials and submit a report based on their findings, the official said.

The official said the board is in the process of deciding if the Quality Council of India can be roped in to carry out the “shopping” and if NGOs and other civil society groups can also be engaged for a fee for the purpose.

The identity of the mystery shopper will not be revealed at any point to field officials in order to ensure that transparency in the process is maintained, the official said.

First Published: Jun 14, 2018 19:26 IST