WR is using Twitter to even tend to commuters’ colds, but fake complaints are endangering the new-age redressal system.
Twitter has become a most popular means for voicing every kind of grievance among Western Railway (WR) commuters, with travellers turning to WR’s official Twitter handle to gain relief even from the common cold.
The divisional railway officials fielding queries on the social media channel say they are flooded with demands that vary from requiring more booking windows and Automatic Ticket Vending Machines (ATVM) to requests for Vicks Inhalers.
Railway officials recently sprung into action when a commuter tweeted a request for a Vicks Inhaler to cure his cold, mentioning that he had left Nasik and was on his way to Manmad. Officials immediately took cognisance of his need and ensured that he was provided with the inhaler at the next station.
However, officials also say they also have to deal with fake requests for help, which catch them off-guard. The Bhusawal division recently received a tweet where a commuter demanded medical attention in one of the trains. The tweet mentioned his seat number, but when doctors reached the coach, they could not find the complainant. Such incidents, the officials said, makes them wary of responding to the tweets.
The fake tweets for help leave genuine complaints unattended to, leaving commuters in the lurch. Shruti Jadhav, a resident of Malad, said “The indicators at Malad station were not functioning and the trains were delayed. But after boarding a 12.32 pm train and reaching Andheri, the train was halted and two other long-distance trains were allowed to pass. Despite tweeting about it, there was no reply from the railways.”
With the Twitter handle’s growing popularity and its increasing number of followers, railway officials are thinking of setting up a different department to handle the Twitter account.
Divisional Railway Manager of WR Shailendra Kumar said, “Within a month, the number of followers has reached around 1,100. Timely response to these tweets is essential but this might get difficult with the increase in the number of tweets. We are looking at getting another team to handle it so the commuters should make the best use of this platform to inform us about the problems.”
One an average, WR’s official Twitter handle gets tagged in about 30 tweets a day. The Zonal handle of WR has about 8000 followers, and they receive another 100 tweets. Similarly, Central Railway (CR) also receives around 100 tweets each day.