Vande Bharat Express (Train 18) to have 'air-hostesses, flight stewards'; IRCTC has hired 34 staffers for these jobs
The air hostesses, attired in white shirt-black trousers with a black sleeveless jacket, a silk scarf around the neck, and with the hair smartly combed back, would reportedly wheel in the food trolleys, laden with food and drinks for the passengers.
Superfast Delhi-Varanasi Vande Bharat Express, which was earlier named Train 18, will soon have 'air hostesses' on board, handing out food to passengers. Indian Railways has hired over 34 'air-hostesses and flight stewards' to care for passengers on Vande Bharat, which was inaugurated on February 15, said an IANS report.
The report cited an Indian Railways official, who declined to be named, saying that the Indian Rail Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) has done the hiring of air hostesses and flight stewards on Vande Bharat.
The air hostesses, attired in white shirt-black trousers with a black sleeveless jacket, a silk scarf around the neck, and with the hair smartly combed back, would reportedly wheel in the food trolleys, laden with food and drinks for the passengers. The latest move is part of a six-month pilot project to take forward Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Railway Minister Piyush Goyal`s dream of making the railways more competitive.
Besides providing world class service to passengers, adding to their comfort, the railways also hopes the move will help minimise complaints regarding shoddy behaviour of pantry staff. Just like on an airline flight, the air hostesses and flight stewards would greet passengers with a smile and `namastey` while boarding and thank them during debording, the report said.
IRCTC MD MP Mall told IANS, "We have hired 34 Air Hostesses and Flight Stewards from the Air Borne Air Hostess Academy in Delhi to provide flight-like hospitality services on board the Vande Bharat Express," adding the pilot project is aimed at not only improving the catering service but also "improve communication" with passengers. Notably, the pilot project launched a month ago has reportedly evinced "amazing" response.
If the project is successful, the IRCTC would float a tender to hire more such personnel for the Vande Bharat Express as well as other premium trains like Rajdhani, Shatabdi, Tejas and Humsafar Express trains. IRCTC Spokesperson Siddharth Singh was quoted as saying that IRCTC is paying Rs 25,000 a month as salary to the Air Borne Air Hostess Academy personnel.
Earlier, the pantry staff would be paid around Rs 8,000 to Rs 10,000 a month by the private player hired for providing services.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had flagged off the high-speed Vande Bharat Express chair-car train from New Delhi to his parliamentary constituency Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh on February 15. It covers the distance of 850 km in eight hours, compared to the 12 hours by other trains.
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Notably, the 16-coach train has two executive compartments with 52 seats each and trailer coaches with 78 seats each. The executive class coaches have rotating seats to match the direction of the train.
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