In a rather innovative move, the catering arm of the national transporter, Indian Railway Catering Tourism Corporation Limited (IRCTC), is planning to bring a next-generation system of lodging for railway passengers - pod hotels! IRCTC has proposed setting up of a pod hotel near the Mumbai Central railway station.
The corporation wants to offer affordable, comfortable stopover options with more amenities than the usual retiring rooms. Pinakin Morawala, spokesperson for IRCTC said that they are planning a 30-pod capsule hotel. "The proposal is in nascent stages and the land has been identified. We are now awaiting approval from Western Railway before sanctioning a feasibility study," he added.
"The capsule concept will be one-of-a-kind with ultra-modern, smart amenities available to passengers. This construction proposal is part of a wave of innovative ideas to enhance passenger experience," Morawala added.
According to multiple reports, the pods will offer facilities such as temperature and light control, personal lockers, USB ports and power sockets, intercoms, entertainment screens, Wi-Fi, along with a comfortable place to rest. There will also be dining, washroom, lounge and changing room facilities.
Each pod is likely to be 5 feet by 7 feet, Morawala said. He added that a hotel room costs much more but a pod will have all the essential comforts for a 7-8 hour stay time.
This is a concept that has mushroomed all over the world, including Mumbai. The city already has India's first pod capsule hotel, called Urbanpod that opened for business in 2017.
IRCTC is looking to open similar spaces near major stations if this pod hotel manages to take off. Morawala admitted that it is too early to put an estimate on the cost of the project. As for the tariffs Morawala said that it depends on the number of hours a pod is used. While the rates are usually around Rs 2,500, Morawala said that it is too early to decide what IRCTC will charge.
(Edited by Anwesha Madhukalya)
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