Bhubaneswar: The Railway authorities have decided to set up booking kiosks for cab aggregators such as Ola, Uber and others at Bhubaneswar railway station for the convenience of passengers.
Also, parking lots will be allotted to the cab aggregators for a fee. The model is expected to fetch additional revenues for East Coast Railway (ECoR) through license fees.
At present, app-based cabs are unable to park on the station premises due to stiff opposition by auto drivers. As a result, passengers opting for Ola or Uber usually have to walk outside all the way to Tanishq or Lalchnd Jewellers near Master Canteen square to get to their vehicles.
Now, however, Railway officials are positive of making ride hailing services operate on the station premises.
A senior ECoR official said, “We have been trying to offer Ola and Uber services at Bhubaneswar station for a long time now as it will be convenient to the elderly and passengers with heavy luggage.”
According to the official, they have called for proposals from companies that had expressed interests to set up kiosks at the station under the Railways’ New, Innovative Non Fare Revenue Ideas Scheme (NINFRIS).
“We are planning to provide them parking space beside the station, near Hotel Excellency where there is space. In case we fail to arrange the parking space, we have asked the cab aggregators to bridge the gap in services by arranging licensed porters to help passengers with their luggage to pick-up spots outside the station. This service could be availed by travellers who have booked rides via apps or through the kiosk,” he added.
The decision has been welcomed by passengers, saying it will be very convenient if cabs are allowed on the premises. “If care is also taken to somehow avoid airport like congestion at the entry and exit points, it would be even better,” said a regular traveller to Bhubaneswar.