The historic Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST) station is looking towards the future. If all goes well, commuters will be able to use Wi-Fi at the iconic structure from 2014. However, there’s a catch: rail authorities are contemplating making the facility free to use for the first 20 minutes, after which it will become chargeable.
Central Railway (CR)
officials, who had been in talks with a telecom operator for the past few months, have said that the initial idea was to offer free Wi-Fi to citizens on a trial basis, but then they were told that this would be an expensive experiment. So, the telecom operator has suggested that a commuter be charged after 20 minutes of using the servers.
“The company had earlier said that it will be putting up devices that can provide Wi-Fi free for three months, but now it wants to levy charges after 20 minutes of use. We will get 20 per cent of the revenue earned,” said a senior CR official. Railway authorities say CST station has maximum footfall of passengers, and they would prefer implementing the Wi-Fi system here. “Not only does CST see a large number of suburban commuters, but also those taking outstation trains. This would mean that once the idea catches on in a month or so, a sizeable amount of revenue would be generated,” claimed an official.
According to a recent Mumbai Rail Vikas Corporation (MRVC) survey, CST handles as many as 6.36 lakh local train passengers daily, and additional ones for long-distance trains. Officials are also trying to work out a foolproof system of monetary transaction with telecom companies. For this, they will float a tender, and appoint the firm that can provide best services at reasonable rates to passengers. Atul Rane, chief PRO, CR, said, “The proposal of Wi-Fi is still in process; we are working out the details.” Sources say that if successful, the idea may also be implemented at stations like Thane, Kalyan and Dombivli.
>> Once you enter CST, your phone will receive a pop-up or an alert, telling you about the Wi-Fi
>> The logo of the telecom company would be displayed to market the brand, and other bargains that it would be offering
>> This system would help passengers know the train timetables and any delays in schedule
Daily footfall of local train passengers at CST