Home >News >India >Time slots, fare to be crucial for private trains
The use of technology and value-added services will make the part-privatization drive by the railways a success, say experts. (HT)
The use of technology and value-added services will make the part-privatization drive by the railways a success, say experts. (HT)

Time slots, fare to be crucial for private trains

  • Innovation in service delivery and customer loyalty will also be important
  • The railways, too, feels private participation in operating passenger trains will allow superior service, improved coach technology and reduce journey time

While the Indian Railways has initiated the process of shortlisting private companies to run 151 modern passenger trains on 109 routes, experts said the success of the part-privatization drive by the national transporter will depend on several factors such as favourable time slots, comfort and value-added features, besides affordable fares.

“There is significant scope for value-added services and introduction of high-end technology in passenger services, which can help make the overall proposition viable for the private sector," said Rajaji Meshram, partner, E&Y India.

“Time is of the essence and hygiene is a factor for passengers, especially business travellers. If the private trains run together with trains operated by Indian Railways, prioritization rules will be an important factor," Meshram said.

Innovation in service delivery and customer loyalty will also be important.

“It’s important that the private players forge a good partnership with rolling stock owners, rail operators and hospitality service providers. The need to re-invest into the project will be high (operating and capital expenditure) leading to a long tailed payback period," said Jagannarayan Padmanabhan, director and practice lead, transport and logistics, Crisil Infrastructure Advisory.

The railways, too, feels private participation in operating passenger trains will allow superior service, improved coach technology and reduce journey time for travellers.

Besides, it will help railways to get private sector investment of 30,000 crore, according to initial estimates. “The operations are expected to begin in April 2023," Railway Board chairman Vinod Kumar Yadav said last week.

Many domestic companies as well as global players have shown interest. Global rail technology firm Bombardier Transportation said it was evaluating the project, but is yet to finalize its role.

“We are evaluating all options—in terms of manufacturing rolling stock, and maintenance and operations of trains. As and when we get more clarity and finer details on train design and requirements, we will be able to decide the direction we want to choose," said Rajeev Joisar, managing director, Bombardier Transportation India.

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