Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Coimbatore Junction Retiring Rooms

Online Booking through IRCTC is not available for the Newly Constructed 4 Retiring Rooms /5 AC Dormitories at Coimbatore Junction

The Existing IRCTC – SBI Platinum Card Service counter on platform 1 could be used to offer online booking service of retiring rooms as a value added service 
The Newly constructed Retiring Rooms and AC Dormitories that were launched a couple of years at Coimbatore Railway Station have not been included in the online booking facility  on the IRCTC Web Site leaving the rooms vacant on many days as the passengers are having to go through the tedious manual application process after they alight from the train at the Coimbatore Station. These 4additional AC rooms and 5 AC Dormitories are available on the first floor of platform number 1 at the Coimbatore Junction but one cannot book online through IRCTC as they have not been added to the previously existing retiring rooms.

Railway Retiring rooms and dormitories in Tiruchirapalli  (http://prtraveller.blogspot.com/2008/08/retiring-room-tiruchchirappalli.html) and Madurai Stations, among others are a big hit in the Southern Railway Section.

AC Retiring Rooms are available for around Rs. 700, Non AC rooms at around Rs. 450 and AC Dormitories for around Rs. 250. These provide great convenience to the passengers in addition to safety especially for women passengers and are also quite economical considering the hotel rates in the area around the railway station.

5% online booking discount
Despite the huge popularity of online booking of retiring rooms in other stations in the Southern Railway, for some reason, the recently constructed AC Dormitories and the AC retiring rooms are not available for booking online on the IRCTC site, this despite the continued thrust of the Prime Minister as well as the Railway Minister for Online Transactions. There is also a 5 % discount available for booking of retiring rooms online as an added incentive to passengers. It has been found in the recent past that a large percentage of the booking of retiring rooms has been done online, thus moving away from the old system of filling forms and getting station master’s approval. 
Passengers have to go through Manual Application Process
Many other stations in the Southern Railway offer online booking of retiring rooms (http://prtraveller.blogspot.com/2009/04/madurai-junction-retiring-rooms.html). But it leaves one to wonder as to why an important Junction and a business center such as Coimbatore does not allow online booking of retiring rooms and dormitories. For 9 of these rooms, a passenger has to go through a strenuous manual process that involves physical checking of the availability, a manual filling of application and approval from the station master. It also involves daily cash deposit by the care taker (staff) of the retiring rooms and dormitories.

Online booking of these retiring rooms and dormitories will do away with the tedious process of cash collection and deposit by the staff.

No Actual Check in – Check Out System for Retiring Rooms
Also, while the passenger books for a specific period, currently there is no online system to maintain an actual check in and check out of the passengers using the retiring room. The Indian Railways should introduce a system of online check out by the passengers so they can track the availability of the rooms, better. Currently, when a passenger checks out early, the room does not automatically become available as the booking of that earlier passenger was for a particular period and the room status continues to be shown as occupied despite the passenger having vacated the room earlier.

Loss of Revenues for Railways
In recent times, one also finds a high marketing pitch at the Coimbatore Junction of the IRCTC- SBI Platinum Card. Since personnel are readily available at the counter for this card service, the Railways could extend this offering to provide online booking of retiring rooms as well. This will be a value add for both the passengers as well as the IRCTC and could dramatically improve the occupancy rates of the retiring rooms at Coimbatore Junction, which has in recent times lost a lot of revenues with the retiring rooms and dormitories remaining vacant. 
The infrastructure has been set up and the rooms are available.  They are clean, convenient, cost effective and more than anything safe for passengers. And yet Southern Railway is losing out on opportunity to increase its revenues by not making a simple online booking available for a number of rooms at the Coimbatore Junction.

It is hoped that the Railway Ministry will look into this and introduce online booking for all the retiring rooms and AC dormitories at the Coimbatore Junction. It is also hoped that the Ministry will initiate the actual check in and check-out system for online retiring room bookings so the rooms automatically becomes available when the current passenger checks out.

More Trains on Coimbatore Pollachi Rail Route?
Only last month, this writer had written about the lack of utility of the Coimbatore Junction- Podanur- Palani- Dindigul rail route even though it had over a year since the launch of the new broad gauge section on this route.  The Coimbatore Pollachi national highway is currently witnessing serious congestion because of the construction of flyovers at multiple points and it sometimes takes close to two hours to cover the 45kms by road. Hence it is an ideal opportunity for the Southern Railway to introduce many more trains on this route to help passenger commute (http://prtraveller.blogspot.com/2018/06/coimbatore-pothanur-junction.html).

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