In a bid to provide better passenger services and amenities at railway stations across the country, the Railways on Thursday said that it has revised categories of various stations.
The major policy decision was taken with a view to make it more practical and rational, the Ministry of Railways said in a statement.
The step comes after Railways and Coal Minister Piyush Goyal directed the re-categorisation taking into account “earnings, passenger footfall, strategic importance” to provide more effective and focused services.
“The criteria for categorisation of stations have now been revised to include footfalls at the station. The stations have been clubbed into three groups — non-suburban (NS), suburban (S) and Halt (H),” the statement said.
“These groups have further been put in grades ranging from NSG 1-6, SG 1-3 and HG 1-3, respectively,” it said.
The Ministry said it would help the passengers to have a better experience in relation to travel amenities at stations.
Earlier, passenger earnings, mainly earned through platform tickets, was the main criterion for classification.
All stations were clubbed in categories such as A1, A, B, C, D, E and F on the basis of passenger earnings.
According to the Ministry, earlier the number of stations with high passenger footfalls (handling high number of commuter and MST pass holders) could not be converted into the higher category of stations which led to their being eligible only for a lower level of amenities.
“As per the new criteria the number of footfalls has also been given equal weightage and is taken into account as criteria for categorisation of stations.
“Therefore, many stations like Kalyan, Panvel, Tambaram, Thane have qualified into the higher category and become eligible for higher level of passenger amenities,” the Ministry said.
Presently, there are 5,976 Non-Suburban Railway Stations, 484 Suburban Railway Stations and 2,153 Halts, which puts the total number of stations at 8,613.
“This categorisation of stations has been done for the period 2017-18 to 2022-23,” it said.
The railway stations with an earning of Rs 500 crore and handling more than 20 million passengers will be in the NSG 1 category.
While in the NSG 2 category will be those stations with Rs 100 crore to Rs 500 crore earning and handling of passengers between 10 to 20 million.
The Ministry also said that General Managers would have powers to categorise a station as NSG-4 “if it is a place of tourist importance and/or is an important junction station”.
It also gave the General Managers full power to sanction out-of-turn safety related works such as foot overbridge, high level platform and trolley path for movement of wheel chairs without any limit.
“These amenities will be provided at all the stations irrespective of their category for safe performance of journey by passengers,” it said.
For improving stations and passenger interfaces, amenities like waiting halls, platform shelters, lifts, escalators, digital charts display, illumination and the train/coach indication board have been provided to the lower category stations.
“Even the small stations will get the higher level of amenities which will lead to better passenger satisfaction,” it added.