Thirty nine trains have been identified for e-catering service by IRCTC – a catering PSU of Indian Railways and service has already commenced. These trains do not have pantry services, and thus, identified. If this comes out successful, IR will certainly get rid of inefficient catering through on-board pantry service, a source of major complaint. This also provides a sound opportunity to generate reserved or unreserved accommodation which otherwise is a waste for hauling pantry cars.
How to book a meal?
A passenger can book a preferred meal through e-catering website as easily as through telephone and SMS also. The website page-address is http://www.ecatering.irctc.co.in/eCatering/# in and phone numbers are 1800-1034-139 (Toll-free), 0120-4383892-99 (Toll) and SMS MEAL to 139.
There are a few simple steps to book meals to be served from 0600-2200 hrs. at any stations where IRCTC runs and operates 80 food plazas and fast food restaurants.
Enter your PNR, select the train from drop down menu and choose the station where you wish the meals to be served. After this vendor menu open along with the price list and passenger can book meals of his choice and vender as well. The passenger is required to make e-payment for completing the transaction.
Likewise, food can be booked by toll free number and SMS, with preparation for payment made on delivery of food to you. One time password is sent to you on your mobile and is required to display to delivery boy for authentication.
Waitlist passenger can also book meals. In case of late running of trains, the outlet will keep a tab on the running and prepare the food so that it is served hot.
How to cancel the booked food?
Customer may cancel the confirmed meal booking online 02 hours prior to the scheduled delivery of meal (Refund of the balance amount after deduction of cancellation charges of Rs. 20 per transaction). It can likewise be cancelled later, i.e. within less than 02 hours of delivery time or afterwards. Nevertheless, no refund shall be fixed in case order is cancelled within less than 02 hours of delivery time. It is not readable from the web site, how the cancellation charges will be recovered if ordered through SMS or toll free number where the payment is made through delivery boy. The passengers will prefer SMS or toll free number for the purpose.
How it will benefit IR in long run
- Generating capacity for reserved or unreserved accommodation: Indian Railways shall also get rid of the system of compulsory serving of meals in Rajdhani and Shatabadi trains and convert it into e-catering. The system was introduced on lines similar Airlines and when such trains had only very few stoppages. The situation has now changed with Air lines shifted to no-frill attached services and sufficient stoppages to serve through e-catering. Imagine a colossal waste when IR runs two pantry cars to serve 19 coach Rajdhani train. This will provide another about 100-120 berths for carrying passengers. A small pantry in each passenger vehicle of this class of train for serving hot tea, soup and a few packed eatables shall suffice for on-board service and balance all through e-catering.
- Unhygienic Pantry Cars: It is really difficult to maintain hygienic standards in pantry cars. The pantry cars are not vacated at ends for providing cleaning, and the pantry staff uses it stay and all other purposes.
- Generator Capacity: The pantry car electric load is much higher as compared to conventional AC coach and therefore, it will be possible to augment the capacity of the train to 21-22 coaches without any trouble.
- Safety: The pantry cars had been a cause for much of the incidence of fire on the train. It is always desirable to dispense with it as early as possible.
How it will benefit passenger
- hygienic food preparation at base kitchen with regular inspection by IRCTC officials
- No over charging
- Choice of vendor for supply of food
- Pre-determined and quantity and quality
This is the standard of catering services at important station and prestigious trains
Every one wishes that IR and IRCTC shall succeed in this mission to benefit all in long run
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