New project to improve on Vande Bharat luxury: ‘Yatra Seva Anubandh’ includes wider menu options, infotainment and more

The project also moots cab arrival/departure facilities to passengers at stations; wheelchairs and buggy drive assistance. Photo: Shutterstock/PradeepGaurs

Travellers on Vande Bharat trains will soon receive world-class onboard services similar to flight trips, under a new initiative announced by the Indian Railways. According to the Railways, the pilot project ‘Yatra Seva Anubandh’ (YSA) would be initially implemented on six routes of Vande Bharat trains under the Southern Railway. A press release from the Railway Board said that the aims of the pilot project include ensuring better comfort for passengers, providing a wider menu for onboard catering, making support facilities available and offering onboard infotainment. The project also moots cab arrival/departure facilities to passengers at stations; wheelchairs and buggy drive assistance. The onboard entertainment system will offer seamless, quality content abiding by all rules related to intellectual property rights.

Yet another focus of YSA is ensuring the cleanliness of trains. Contracts will be given to persons having an excellent track record in catering and housekeeping for implementing YSA and the contractor will appoint employees for housekeeping in each coach. The staff should have received training in hospitality and housekeeping from an institution recognized by Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana; All-India Institute of Local Self-Government in New Delhi or any other government-approved institute.

Food options
YSA promises an exclusive food menu to travellers. Items could be pre-booked for delivery on trains or ordered a la carte. The food will be prepared at ISO-certified base kitchens having CCTV facilities and served in packs with QR codes. Stern instructions have also been given to avoid beef and pork in all dishes.

Other conditions
The project also stipulates that those who are appointed as YSA managers should be degree-holders with at least three years of experience in the hospitality sector, in order to ensure the quality of the services. Similarly, at least one employee who will handle catering on a train should have a degree or diploma in hospitality, hotel management or catering. The payments and credentials of these employees would be evaluated by the railways periodically.

Onboard sales
YSA would also enable onboard sales of goods related to travelling. Permission will be given to the contractor to sell any item which is not prohibited by law. However, the sale of tobacco-related items and alcoholic drinks will not be allowed.

Trains covered
The Railway Board’s press release says that YSA will be implemented in six pairs of Vande Bharat routes in Southern Railway. However, Southern Railway currently operates Vande Bharat only on five routes. It is not specified which would be the sixth route. The Vande Bharat trains under the Southern Railway are presently conducting services on the following routes: Chennai – Mysuru; Chennai – Tirunelveli; Chennai – Coimbatore; Thiruvananthapuram – Kasaragod and Chennai – Vijayawada.

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