We all have traveled through Indian Railways and have faced chaotic environment at the platforms, one of the most chaotic being the capital, New Delhi Railway Station (NDLS). Waiting for delayed trains and wiling way the time because of the duration gap between two different trains has always been a tough task for all of us. Everybody wishes to spend the waiting hours peacefully without any kind of rush and the wish is granted with the inauguration of IRCTC Traveler’s Executive Lounge in the premises of the New Delhi Railway Station. IRCTC and SSP Catering India Pvt. Ltd. have collaborated to provide a five star waiting lounge for the sufferers at NDLS, opposite to platform no.16 towards Ajmeri Gate Side.
The lounge has been constructed like a luxurious hub and serves the passengers 24*7 in its best possible way, as this is the first waiting lounge on railway station in India. Spic and Span washrooms, air-conditioned lounge, mouth watering hygienic food, Wi-Fi connectivity, Luggage Racks, all under one roof that too at a Railway Station in Delhi, is truly a welcome step.
We explored The IRCTC lounge by interviewing the Sale Executive of the lounge by inquiring about the facilities available.
The excerpts of QnA session with Mr.Rohit Kumar:
Q. What is IRCTC Executive Lounge and what is its basic aim?
A. IRTC Lounge is an executive waiting lounge for the public who are the victims of the delays in train and a destination to spend the time gap between two different zones trains. It is an initiative by SSP catering India Pvt Ltd, a company that has constructed over 50 waiting lounges all over the country at the airport premises, and for the first time in India it has constructed at a railway station. It accommodates 125 persons at a time. The aim is to provide comfort to the passengers in way a hotel suite does.
Q. What are the charges for the entry in IRTC Lounge and what all services are included in it?
A. The entry is through a smart card and its charges are very affordable for all, just Rs.300 for three hours, which includes one main course buffet meal and snacks with unlimited beverages. It offers facility for shower by charging Rs.175 that includes a proper bathing kit comprising of a soap, shampoo, moisturizer, towel and shower cap. If u wish to stay more than 3 hrs, you are charged Rs.125 additional per hour which includes snacks and unlimited beverage.
Q. What are the other luxurious facilities provided?
A. The lounge is fully air-conditioned with comfortable chairs and sofas; It also provides recliners to relax. It provides Wi-Fi facilities free of cost to the ones carrying their devices, for those who are not can access the mini cyber-cafe by paying Rs.30 per half an hour. There is a convenience store which provides basic confectionery items, eatables, books by eminent writers (English and Hindi) these facilities are chargeable according to the MRP, the products can be bought by recharging the entry card. Magazines and Newspapers are also available to wile away the time. The lounge also offers entertainment facilities as each floor has its 42”inches LED television. Facilities such as fax, Photostat, scanning are also available with additional minimal charges.
Q. How is the luggage of the passenger taken care of?
A. Each floor has a separate section for keeping the bulky luggage safely with token number assigned to each passenger.
Q. What kind of catering services are provided and is the food prepared in safe and hygienic conditions?
A. The buffet includes a proper five course meal which comprises of vegetarian as well as non-vegetarian. The main course meal comprises of soup, rice, chapatti, 2 kind of vegetables, curd, salad, desert and snacks include cutlets, sandwiches etc. are served. Proper cutlery set is provided by the steward in exchange. The food is provided according to timings:
Breakfast – 6:30 AM TO 10:00 AM
Lunch-12:30 PM TO 3:30 PM
Dinner-7:30 PM TO 11:30 PM
The preparation area is hygienic and under the supervision of chef’s team, the entire kitchen is digital in nature including dish washing machine, refrigerator, induction cooking without any use of fire by keeping in mind the safety of the railway station.
Q. Are there any special facilities for senior citizens or physically challenged people?
A. There are wheelchairs available to assist senior citizens and physically challenged people.
Q. Does the lounge offer a different section for V.I.P’s or for group or families?
A. The lounge has two sections for group gathering one on ground floor another on 1st floor, it provides a separate television for the group, the condition is the group or family should comprise of at least 8 members. The charges remain standard Rs.300 per person.
Q. Does the executive lounge have its booking online?
A. Yes, people can book their stay for the waiting timings online by logging on to the official site, all the facilities are available for 24*7
Q. How are the employees available round the clock?
A. There are different shifts for different departments to enhance efficiency in the working of the lounge; the services are not hampered during the late hours.
The IRCTC Executive lounge has its tie-up with hotels like Leela Palace, and other hotels and travel booking sites as well as Travel agents. These tie-ups help the travelers to spend their free time before the train’s arrival or the time after checking out from hotels in the lounge. The IRCTC Executive offers home like comfort and hotel like luxuries in a very minimal charge, it has served 30,000 guests by now. The authorities have got the permission to construct similar lounge at Old Delhi Nizamuddin Railway Station, as the first one has received positive feedback.