New Delhi: Railways have decided to launch an SMS-based service for immediate response to passenger complaints regarding housekeeping service in coaches. The service will be launched on a few select trains to facilitate passengers to contact onboard staff through SMS or phone call for complaints related to cleanliness in coaches, toilets and other problems faced during journey.
An On-site Passenger Complaint Redressal System (OPCRS) is being developed as envisaged in the Rail Budget 2013-14, a senior Railway Ministry official said. The service is likely to be launched in either Mumbai Rajdhani or Bangalore Rajdhani as a pilot project soon. As per the system, a passenger can send SMS for any issue related to coach housekeeping like dirty toilets, compartment or absence of liquid soap.
"Passengers will SMS his PNR on a common number like one being used for PNR inquiry," the official said. Railways have asked for a three-digit number from the Department of Telecommunication for the purpose. Once the SMS is sent, the information will be registered on OPCRS connected with GSM network, and it will be immediately routed to a GSM hand held unit (mobile phone) available with housekeeping supervisor on train.
Simultaneously, an acknowledgement would be sent on the mobile phone of the complainant with a complaint ID with instruction to disclose the ID to the housekeeping supervisor after he attends to the problem to his satisfaction. Housekeeping supervisor on receipt of passenger information would locate him, get briefing of his requirements and attend to the problem besides giving him feedback.
After the job is done, housekeeping supervisor would request for complaint ID from the passenger and send it via SMS from the hand held unit back to OPCRS. It will send the feedback to the complainant for closure of his complaint. "In case the passenger does not disclose the complaint ID, it is presumed that the complaint has not been disposed off to the satisfaction of passengers," the official said.
Railways aim to make the on-site passenger complaints redressal system (OPCRS) user-friendly which promptly establishes the communication between the user demanding the service and actual service provider available on board. It generates database for complaints and feedback for analysis and effecting system improvements.
Currently, complaint handling is time consuming activity. It does not provide for on-site redressal of the complaint lodged by the passenger. There is no proper system for getting feedback from the complainant if the corrective action taken by the railways has satisfied him or not. At present, a passenger lodges complaint in the complaint book available with TTE/conductor. Complaints are also being made in writing and sent by post and email. Most of the complaints are sent after the journey is over.
At the end of the journey, complaints lodged in the complaint book are being forwarded by commercial department to the branches concerned. "The whole process of handling complaint takes a long time and consumes enormous amount of time and energy of the organisation. Moreover, it is also not known if the reply given by Railways to the passengers has satisfied them and whether grievances have been addressed or not," the official said.
But with the on-site redressal system, the whole process will create a database of complaints with nature of complaints, response time of the housekeeping supervisor, train-wise and region wise complaint, which becomes a decision-making platform for the management for further system improvements.
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