Nagpur: Good news for tech savvy Nagpurians who brag about the mismanagement of cab operations at Nagpur railway station. Nagpur Division of Central Railway has proposed providing secure space for cab services from main station soon. This will be in addition to the existing pre-paid auto booth on the west side of the station. This means passengers can now hire a cab from station only instead of walking out to some distance outside station to board Ola and Uber cabs.
As of now cab aggregator services are available at Bengaluru and 16 other stations in that division. “Central Railway will launch the same pattern in Nagpur as per the directions of the Railway Board,” officials said.
Railway Board has finalized a policy after a series of discussions with cab aggregators and they were keen to have space near busy railway stations. The board has left the decision to respective zonal managers to implement it.
CR divisional railway manager (DRM) Brijesh Kumar Gupta confirmed that a proposal in this regard was sent to headquarters at Mumbai last month. “We will earmark some parking space for the cab operators at both east and west sides of the station. The cab aggregators will have to come through bidding process,” Gupta said.
“Central Railway parking policy differs with what is being practised in Bengaluru and we have sought directions from headquarters on how to go about it,” said senior divisional commercial manager (SrDCM) KK Mishra. Railway sources said a green signal from the headquarters was expected any moment and Central Railway was prepared for it. “We will charge a licence fee in lieu of space provided. Fifteen cabs will be allowed on station’s east side and 20 on west side,” said officials.
Railway Board detailed guidelines on parking policy issued on May 14, 2015, based on the parking policy announced on February 12, 2014, already permits call taxis and radio cabs with the approval of DRMs/ADRMs.
However, taxis were never allowed to enter the premises because of stiff opposition from auto drivers. App-based cabs were not allowed to enter the station premises. There have been incidents of cabs being damaged and drivers attacked. “If one wanted to book an Uber or Ola, the passenger had to walk 300-500 metres away from the station premises. It is difficult to do that with luggage,” said Ajay Gajbhiye, a regular railway traveller.
Railway officials allayed fears app-based cabs will be cost more. “The cabs will operate as per the prevailing market rate. All these modalities will be worked out,” they said.
Basant Shukla of Bharatiya Yatri Kendra (BYK) welcomed the move. “The app-based cab service policy envisages good returns for the cab operators as well as the railways. The passengers too have been demanding it for long,” he said. ZRUCC member Braj Bhushan Shukla termed the new initiative passenger-friendly.
Officials said new policy was expected to be launched at 2,000 major railway stations this year. “Railways are hoping to earn Rs 300 crore revenue on the back of growing demand for such cab services,” said a senior official.