Indian Railways passengers are often left with limited choices when it comes to services being offered onboard trains. However, the public transporter has been working to improve and increase the number of amenities provided to passengers onboard a train. The Railways had planned to introduce onboard shopping in Mail/Express Trains on the lines of aircraft to generate non-fare revenue. Taking the first step in this direction, the Western Railway had introduced onboard shopping in Mumbai Central – Ahmedabad Shatabdi Express. Now, the WR plans to extend the service in as many as 16 Mail/Express trains to make the passengers’ journey more entertaining and memorable.
The services are available to passengers travelling in air-conditioned coaches. They can shop while sitting on their berths/seats just like in-flight shopping. Some of the items available for sale are earphones, gadgets, perfumes, skincare products, handbags, necklaces, watches, purses, gift items, cosmetics, and other consumer goods. Food items cannot be bought through this sale as passengers can order it through catering services.
How does this work?
The railways awards a contract for onboard shopping. The contractor will have to make a payment of Rs 40,000 per train to the WR as licence fee. The contractor will deploy two salespeople with a shopping cart onboard the train. The sales executives will have their uniform and will have PoS (point of sale) machines to facilitate digital payments using credit and debit cards. The salespersons will also provide catalogues with item details to make the passengers browse through before placing an order.W
The Indian Railways had started a similar offering in 2016 when it introduced onboard shopping facility in premier trains like Rajdhani and Shatabdi.