More than a month after the pandemic induced lockdown was relaxed, occupancy at the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation Limited (IRCTC) retiring rooms at Tiruchi railway junction meant for short stays for train travellers has begun to improve.
Although 10 retiring rooms were initially reopened in December-end last year to gauge the extent of occupancy during the pandemic period, the steady footfall of visitors and the demand has encouraged the IRCTC to open the remaining rooms now.
The retiring rooms which remained shut for travellers in view of the pandemic were reopened after a gap of nine months on December 24 last year following relaxations in the lockdown norms and resumption of some special express trains across the country, including some from Tiruchi Junction as well.
Ever since it was reopened, the occupancy in the retiring rooms has been gradually increasing. The average occupancy of the rooms was above 60 %, says a senior official of the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation Limited adding that the footfalls were high some times during weekends and sometimes on ordinary days too. There are AC deluxe and super deluxe rooms, AC suite room, AC deluxe family rooms and AC dormitories for men and women separately. The tariff depends on the duration of the stay.
The stay ranges from three hours to 48 hours for bonafide railway passengers and bookings have to be done online. However, some bookings were being done offline for passengers with reserved tickets. Notwithstanding the lockdown, passengers from neighbouring Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka who came to visit Srirangam Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple had stayed at the retiring rooms, the official said. Some transit passengers who board the Tiruchi – Howrah Express from here also stay in these rooms.
Despite the operation of a limited number of train services during the pandemic, the occupancy is picking up. Occupancy would rise further once more trains were introduced via Tiruchi, the official further said. Passengers who come to occupy the rooms were being checked using a thermal scanner prior to being allowed inside. A set of housekeeping staff were deployed to sanitise the rooms regularly. .
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