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Rediff.com  » Business » Rail, road operators to take on cheap airlines

Rail, road operators to take on cheap airlines

August 02, 2006 12:21 IST

The Railways and road travel operators will come up with schemes to lure passengers who have switch over to no-frills airlines in the country.

Currently, Air Deccan, SpiceJet and GoAir offer no-frills air travel facility in India. IndiGo, Jagson Airlines, Premier Airways, Indus Airways, Air One and Yamuna Airways plan jump into the bandwagon soon. Another airline, which is likely to enter the segment is Air Sahara, said an industry analyst.

There is stiff competition between no-frills carriers and rail and road travel operators. While no-frills carriers are eyeing second AC and Volvo passengers, the rail and road travel operators are coming up with new schemes to retain their passengers.

"The intense competition will certainly benefit passengers," said a travel industry analyst.

As part of the strategy, the Railways is planning to incorporate various modules blended information and entertainment for AC passengers.

Besides, executive class passengers in the Shatabdi Express will be provided with individual LCD screens with headphones based on bluetooth and the Wi-fi technology.

AC chair car coaches will have roof-mounted plasma TV with cordless headphones.

The Railways, which carries more than 17 million passengers daily from 8,000 stations in the country, is also planning to implement a project through the public-private-partnership model in which there will be no investment from the Railways' side.

"The proposed modules are for six to seven hours journey," a senior railway offical said. AC chair car passers will also have a mobile network related to trains and live TV programmes.

On their part, road travel operators are also planning facilites for eight to 10 hours journey. "Private inter-state and inter-city bus operators are inducting super luxury Volvo buses. They are offering leg space and the head rest comfort like in the airlines," said a leading travel analyst.

He said the Kerala and Karnataka governments were operating super-luxury buses. "Earlier, Volvo bus operators were offering attached toilets. But it was stopped due to operational reasons. Now, super luxury buses are offering pantry and internet connectivity apart from TV," said a leading Mumbai-based travel operator.
P R Sanjai in Mumbai