India’s first high-speed semi-luxurious train, Tejas Express, made its first run from Mumbai to Goa from Mumbai’s Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus on May 22.
The 20-coach modern train has executive class and chair class, with the coaches offering tea and coffee vending machines, magazines and snacks tables. Other unique features of the train include automatic doors, vacuum bio-toilets, touch-free water taps in toilets and secured gangway. It also has an LCD screen for every passenger and is WiFi enabled.
Although the train was started with much fanfare, it returned in a mess after passengers left the LCD screen thrashed, stole headphones, sullied the toilets and littered all the coaches.
Railway officials had anticipated damage, but the extent of it left them shocked, as reported by Hindustan Times. At least 12 of the high-quality headphones offered for the screens showcasing advertorial content are missing as per the railway officials. The matter came to light when several passengers complained that they were not given headphones to plug into the screens.
There have also been other reports of inactive WiFi and windows left broken.
Passengers travelling on the train after its first run have also had problems with its hygiene standards and the quality of the food served.
The train will run on the Mumbai-Goa route five days of the week, excluding Monday and Thursday. During monsoons, it will operate thrice in one week on Monday, Wednesday and Saturday. With a capacity to run at 200 kmph, it is the fastest train on the route.
The Logical Indian take
India has a population of more than a billion and the Indian Railways is responsible for the commute of thousands of passengers every day. Tejas Express was started to provide travellers with a comfortable ride for a considerably short route. Its fare, including all the amenities provided, is 20% higher than that of Shatabdi Express, as per railways officials.
When a state-of-the-art mode of transportation is developed, the standard of care on the part of both railway staff and commuters should be double than that needed in all other trains.
The passengers are hugely responsible for damaging public property without realising that it is the tax payer’s money which will be spent on its repair. This is not the first case of lack of disregard and civic sense of passengers. Last year, commuters had left the Mahamana Express tattered with garbage within 10 days of its inauguration.
However, the fault of the railway staff cannot be ignored. The thrashing of LCD screens by commuters shows a lack of vigilance on the part of the staff. Furthermore, issues like piling up of garbage and dirty toilets also fall upon their purview. The staff should have ensured that the train is clean for the next trip.
The condition at which Tejas Express was left is disappointing. Railway authorities and passengers should ensure that such cases are not repeated in the future.