Train

The Indian Railways has introduced on board housekeeping service (OBHS) (Android app) which will let passengers as for cleaning of coaches while the train is running, reports The Hindu. As of now, the service, which was announced in the Rail Budget last month, is available in around 1300 trains on the New Delhi/Northern Railways, Mumbai Central/Western Railways and Lucknow Junction/North Eastern Railways routers and offers a scheduled cleaning of coaches twice a day.

Book through SMS/app or website: Passengers can also avail unscheduled service either through the website or by sending an SMS request CLEAN <space>< 10-digit PNR number> to 58888. The OBSERVE (On Board Services) software will send this request to the cleaner’s mobile phone for further instructions, and the railway administration will also be informed of the same. A code is sent to the passengers on registering this request. In case they’re dissatisfied, the passengers need not reveal the code, which will keep the complaint as open.

The clean my coach site says that it has served 19,238 requests as of the time of writing, while the website has received 818,417 visits (timeline not mentioned). Strangely, the website also displays latest requests on the site, offering information about train number, berth number and seat number. The Android app has 5,000-10,000 installs and has over 200 5 star reviews overall with a 4.6 rating, which is not bad for a government service.

A TOI report from last week states that 22 out of 57 trains in Mumbai already had the service, while the remaining 35 would get the service from April. Central Railways had introduced the service on 45 trains.

Railway ramp up initiatives which will make Indians take the train again (maybe)

E-bedrolls: Last month, the IRCTC introduced e-bedroll, a paid service where train passengers could book the bedsheet top, bedsheet bottom, pillow and a fabric pack for their journey at Chennai and Trivandrum Central Railway Stations.

– In the same month, the IRCTC tied up with OYO Rooms to launch an IRCTC hotel-booking page on OYO Rooms, offering its inventory to train travellers. Note that IRCTC’s website continues to list various budget hotel, retiring rooms, lounges etc., and added a button for IRCTC OYO Rooms.

Food tie ups: It has been tying up with multiple food delivery companies to let users order food while on the go, as well at train stations. In January, it tied up with TravelKhana, who it had incidentally sued in December for copyright infringement; Hello Curry in November, Foodpanda in the same month, and earlier in 2015 with Pizza Hut and KFC and Jubilant Foodworks.

Our IRCTC coverage.