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Staff on Mumbai-Goa Tejas Express were great, trip was not: Passengers rate their ride

Mumbai city news: What is a ride on India’s ultra-luxury train like? Here’s a first person account.

mumbai Updated: Jun 26, 2017 10:57 IST
Lavina Mulchandani
Lavina Mulchandani
Hindustan Times
Mumbai city news,Tejas Express,Dadar
A man plays candy crush on the Tejas Express.(Kunal Patil/HT Photo)

Everyone boarding the much-talked-about Tejas Express at 5 am on Friday had high expectations. The Dadar platform was crowded. Families with multiple bags packed to bursting were setting off in high spirits for Goa.

The train was late by a few minutes, but entering the train through automatic doors that whooshed open set the mood.

There was none of the usual express train odour. The staff were dressed in playful beach-themed shirts.

That was where the fun ended for many. The coach information display screens had the wrong numbers. There was chaos and quite a lot of shrill calling out back-and-forth. ‘Seat mila?’ ‘Nahin, yeh nahi hai.’ ‘Excuse me, I think this is my place.’

The attendants, thankfully, were extremely helpful. When everyone had finally found their places and settled in, though, it turned out that the much-touted LCD infotainment screens only had a playlist of 20-odd songs, and a single Bollywood film called Bhagam Bhag that I have to admit I had never heard of. There were the promised app-based games, including Candy Crush.

The difference between the regular and executive coach was cosmetic at best — pillows and a footrest.

There were no blankets to be had, even though the temperature inside the coach was chilly.There was no WiFi in the general coach and only a patchy connection in executive; there were no tea-vending machines.

Breakfast arrived at 8 am, with the information that there would be no lunch served.This caused quite a fuss.

“I’m diabetic. I need food every few hours. How will I manage for the rest of the journey,” shouted Sai Sharma, 35, a businessman.

There was no food for sale either. And with only five stops through an eight-and-a-half-hour journey, with several children on board, there weren’t the usual opportunities for passengers to buy food of their own.

The staff kept their cool all through, apologised politely and profusely, admitted that there were teething problems.

At the end, they handed us feedback forms and tried to respond to all our questions.

“Within a month, the train will have high-speed wi-fi. We are also taking all feedback seriously and working to improve the passenger experience,” said Ashish, who only gave us one name but said he was responsible for the infotainment system on board.

They may have a point about the problems being largely a result of the service being so new. Things were much better on the return journey.

The Tejas set off on time, there was a lot more food on board, and many more happy faces.

I choose to be optimistic about the future of the train. But in the meanwhile, and I think I speak for many of us on board this morning when I say this, I intend to head to the airport if I need to get to Goa.

First Published: May 27, 2017 09:22 IST