Jul 27, 2017

Parking space for online cabs at Central railway station soon

Thiruvananthapuram: Soon, Thiruvananthapuram Central railway station will have a space reserved exclusively for app-based cab services. The facility will be based on the model adopted by Bangalore City Junction railway station, where the railway station authorities has partnered with app-based cab aggregators.

As per the contract, the companies that offer app-based cab service are allotted a parking zone for their vehicles. An additional facility of reserving a cab for passengers without a smartphone or application in mobile, is also provided by the company staff at Bengaluru.

The service is based on the non-fare revenue policy of railways, which includes leasing out space. The rent charges are expected to generate a good revenue to the railways.

Presently, only pick up and drop are allowed for app-based cab service at Thiruvananthapuram Central railway station. The officials here are planning to invite tender for the project soon. A space for five to six cabs near the parking area is being considered.

"The Bangalore City Junction railway station received great returns by leasing out space for app-based cab aggregators. The tender details, location and required area will have to be decided and approval will have to be sought from head office. The facility will benefit the passengers who arrive the station as they will have more option for conveyance," said senior divisional commercial manager V C Sudheesh

Cab aggregators had approached the railway officials with the proposal a few months ago. As tussle between pre-paid auto-taxi drivers operating service from the railway station and online cab drivers was a regular affair, the proposal was not taken up initially. Now, with the auto drivers opposing the decision of railway division office to impose parking fees, the initiative to rent out space will benefit with the railways as well as the passengers," said an official from the railway division.

If introduced, Thiruvananthapuram Central will be the second railway station under Southern Railway after Coimbatore Junction railway station to provide the service. An area of 339 sq m at Coimbatore Junction is allotted to app-based cab aggregators for a period of three months. The facility was inaugurated by Union minster for railways Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu in April.

Meanwhile, the representatives of auto drivers' union at the pre-paid counter opposed the decision. "The railways's decision to charge parking fees from us is an attempt to provide the space for app-based cabs. It will adversely affect our revenue," said S Mohankumar, executive member of railway autorickshaw union coordination committee, Thampanoor.

The railway division has asked the auto drivers to pay parking fees of Rs 3,650 per annum.