How the Indian Railways is using social media to help passengers in distress

Under a new Railway Minister, Suresh Prabhu, the Indian Railways is working with a new zeal and attending to complaints from passengers proactively. The Indian Railways is monitoring its Twitter handle quite actively, and is responding to passengers in distress.

On November 26, 2015, Namrata Mahajan, tweeted to the official Railway Ministry handle, that she was terrified, as she was alone in a coach, and a male passenger was harassing her.


A senior officer immediately noticed the tweet and asked the woman passenger to share her PNR. Once this was done, the relevant railway authorities were directed to immediately help the woman passenger. Once the train reached a particular station, the woman was immediately helped by RPF jawans, and the woman thanked the railway ministry for the swift action.

In another case, Pankaj Jain, a businessman was traveling on train with his father, who has been paralyzed. The station which he had to alight only had a 3 minute stop, which was not enough for Pankaj to make his father alight comfortably. On suggestion from his friend, he tweeted to the railways Twitter handle, @RailMinIndia, asking if the train could wait for a longer time, and if he could get a wheelchair for his father. The Ministry again quickly replied asking for the passenger’s PNR details.

To the passenger’s complete surprise, not only did the train wait for ten minutes at the station, the station master along with the staff was waiting at the platform to help Pankaj.

The reaction of Twitter users to the initiatives taken by the Indian Railways has been overwhelming. This was best expressed by Twitter user, Santosh V Karmath, as he tweeted, “This is #AccheDin where a common man is treated like a VIP”

Though the road to improvement is a long and gradual process, the Indian Railways has taken the help of technology to significantly improve its processes. For example, the South Central Railway is using surveillance cameras to monitor cleanliness at various stations. In another great initiative, any person who feels that his coach is not clean can send an SMS, such as ‘Clean <PNR Number>’ to 58888. This will summon the train cleaner to your seat.

The example of Indian Railways has shown how social media can be used by public service organizations to proactively ensure the safety and well being of their customers. Here is hoping that every public and private organization takes a cue and listens to customers more proactively!



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