theindialog

August 18, 2009

Train-ing

Filed under: Delhi,F&B,Lessons,Rajasthan,Transport — loggers @ 12:50 am

We booked our tickets on-line (Yatra) for a rail journey from Delhi to Kota. Our train, the Rajdhani Express was scheduled to depart at 4.30pm. We reached the station at 3.45pm and at 4.10pm we realized that we were at the wrong station – Nizamuddin instead of New Delhi. Now, it was impossible for us to transfer to the right station in time to catch the Rajdhani. Thus, we decided to cancel our booking, but found out that tickets booked on-line could only be cancelled on-line. A kind railway police official told us to speak to the TC (Ticket Collector), who would accommodate us if there were vacancies in the August Kranti Rajdhani which was to leave Nizamuddin station at 4.55pm.

We got a chance to speak to the TC 20 minutes before departure. He suggested that we get new tickets from the issuing authority at the station. Naman sprinted across the station to negotiate with the agents at the ticketing booth who refused to issue new tickets as the reservation lists had already been released. After pleading profusely for a few minutes, the officials decided to relent. Naman could afford only 2 tickets and did not have the time to run to the ATM for more cash. After purchasing the tickets he ran back to the platform to board the train.

We were in an AC 3-tier coach and were pleasantly surprised by the cleanliness of the compartment and the quality of service and food. Minutes after boarding we were served a snack tray and were given a bottle of water and a hand towel. When the TC arrived, we explained to him the circumstances under which we boarded the train and requested to pay for the 3rd ticket on the spot (TCs reserve the right to issue a ticket onboard). He refused and asked one of us to get off at the next station (Mathura) or pay a fine of INR 3000 upon arrival in Kota. Mathura came and went, we stayed put.

Tomato soup and breadsticks were served before the well-stocked vegetarian dinner trays and strawberry ice-creams arrived. Post-dinner, one of us was summoned by the TC. The negotiation was short and precise. The TC claimed to have helped us big time and proposed that he be treated “pyaar se” (with love). He demanded a sum equal to the price of the ticket plus a surcharge. The terms of the verbal contract also included a non-disclosure clause since the TC’s service was “special”. We reached Kota at 9.35pm (10 minutes before the scheduled time of arrival).

Moral: Read the particulars on your ticket. Services in the Indian Railways have improved significantly but macro issues such as corruption among officials remain.

Side-note: We have now officially used every available form of transport (road, rail, air and water).

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1 Comment »

  1. Hi guys,
    The link is to a video discussing a country in the region. I’m not suggesting direct comparison, nevertheless, some overlapping problems and ideas for solutions. best, Aviad

    Comment by Aviad — August 20, 2009 @ 9:55 pm | Reply


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