Mumbai city news: Headphones provided till Friday cost around Rs200 each, new ones to cost Rs30 each, says source
A total of 337 headphones distributed to passengers for the entertainment systems on-board the Mumbai-Goa Tejas Express were stolen in just four round trips after it debuted last Monday, a railway source said.
For its fifth trip on Saturday from CST, the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) provided low-cost headphones.
The IRCTC spokesperson did not confirm the number of missing headphones, but said that it had bought 1,000 headphones, each costing Rs30
The Indian Railway had introduced the systems to provide a flight-like travel experience for passengers.
The train has 990 seats across 13 passenger coaches, including an executive coach that has more comfortable seats with neck and leg rests.
The system has preloaded games, movies and songs, besides FM channels. For the first four trips, headphones of a leading brand were handed over to passengers before the start of the journey.
However, after the first trip itself, the train came back with fewer headphones, damaged infotainment screens and waste strewn all over.
The cost of each headphone was around Rs200. The new ones will cost Rs30 each, a source said.
“Many passengers do not return the headphones before alighting and take those with them thinking that its cost was included in their ticket fare,”said an attendant on the train.
He said the on-board staff are now afraid that IRCTC might recover the cost of missing headphones from their salary.
Without catering services, a Tejas Express chair-car and executive-car ticket between Mumbai and Goa costs Rs 1,285 and Rs2,585, respectively.
According to an IRCTC source, from Friday’s trip, instead of distributing headphones to the passengers, staffers issued the headphones to the passengers after noting down their seat details and collected it from them.
It considerably brought down the number of missing headphones, the source said.
Meanwhile, many of the 990 infotainment screens were also found damaged.
According to officials, passengers damaged the buttons of three screens by pressing hard on them with an object. There were scratches on many screens.
Many passengers who travelled on the train on Friday complained about inedible food and poor WiFi.
Travellers who chose the non-vegetarian meal were served an omelette with rusk, juice, butter and jam.
Vegetarians, who were served upma with rusk, a cupcake, tea, juice, butter and jam, also said the meal did not meet their expectations.
In addition, WiFi was only available to passengers travelling in the executive chair car, and even they complained about weak signals and connection issues.