Online meal orders on long-distance trains jump 400% in November

Updated: Dec 14, 2016, 18:43 IST | Shashank Rao

Severe shortage of smaller denomination notes means passengers are giving pantry cars the miss and are preferring cashless transactions to book their meals

Last month, 18,622 meals were booked via IRCTC’s website and appLast month, 18,622 meals were booked via IRCTC’s website and app

Demonetisation seems to have come as a boon to several businesses, not least for the restaurants and vendors registered on IRCTC’s e-catering app for long-distance trains.

Ever since the announcement on November 8, the number of meals delivered to passengers travelling inside long-distance trains originating from Mumbai has gone up by 400 per cent.

The severe shortage of smaller denomination notes has meant that people have been giving the pantry car services a huge thumbs down and going online for cashless transactions on their meals.

According to figures provided by the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC), the number of meals booked in October was 4,643, which generated R5.23 lakh. But, in November, that number jumped to 18,622 meals that netted R20.92 lakh. "E-catering has seen a massive jump. We are looking at bringing in more restaurants and vendors into the fray and provide more options for passengers,” said Arvind Malkhede, Group General Manager (West zone), IRCTC.

To order, passengers need to go onto www.ecatering.irctc.co.in or the ‘Food on Track’ mobile app to know the nearest station – the Indian Railways has provided this facility at A-1 and A grade stations – where delivery of the ordered food will be made. The app and website also have the names of restaurants from where one can order.

In Mumbai, e-catering is available at Mumbai Central, Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, Dadar, Kalyan, Kurla LTT, Thane, Bandra Terminus and Panvel that are part of 409 stations across India. There are hundreds of long distance trains departing or passing through these Mumbai-based stations, every day.

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