At Indian Railways stations, your big communications aid goes missing
The Indian Railways have added universal charging points and nursing stations to the list instead, officials said. The Railways Ministry has cited lack of patronage for doing away with telephone booths, once a necessity and now redundant with almost every passenger using a mobile phone.
In a sign of the mobile times, public telephone booths at Indian Railways stations are no longer a ‘minimum essential amenity’ for passengers. The Indian Railways have added universal charging points and nursing stations to the list instead, officials said. The Railways Ministry has cited lack of patronage for doing away with telephone booths, once a necessity and now redundant with almost every passenger using a mobile phone.
Instead, the national transporter has added universal charging points, nursing stations and even fly catching machines to the ‘minimum essential amenity’ list issued to all zonal railways in April, officials said.
Public telephone booths have been in use since the late 19th century when there were no phones at home or mobile phones. However, with the advent of technology, most such booths have either shut down or have expanded to sell other goods.
“Telephone booths were important in the pre-mobile age when people called family to inform them of their arrival and departure by using the booths. It was, in fact, considered an emergency service. However, with the advent of mobile phones, these booths lost their significance and most have actually shut down,” a senior railway official said.
About 20,000 such booths still exist in railway stations across India.
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In this age of mobile phones, the demand for telephone booths, set up with the objective to “provide easy and user-friendly access to passengers to communicate in emergency or otherwise”, has given way to the need for universal charging points, where passengers can charge their phones, officials said.
With over 1,183.41 million mobile connections in the country and rapid Internet penetration, it is not just the railways which is losing telephone booths.