Howrah Station, the oldest station and largest railway complex in India, withits 23 platforms and 26 tracks can be a harrowing experience not only for the 15 lakh passengers who visit it every day but for those who are in charge of handling the chaotic traffic outside the station premises as well.
Earlier, Cab drivers, touts, vendors and hawkers had made Howrah Station a living hell for the scores of daily commuters as well as passengers of long distance trains travelling to the station to board trains. It was an ordeal because of the mismanaged parking facilities and the deteriorating law and order situation, particularly during the night.
Set up in 1854, the Howrah Station is the biggest gateway to Eastern India, yet till a few days back much attention was not being paid to ensure better services and security to the passengers. Thankfully, things have changed for the better as Howrah City police have taken measures to improve the security of the passengers once they step outside and also to ensure smooth movement of traffic around Howrah Station.
Here’s a look at how it all became possible
That the pre-paid taxi system was a major turn-key process to improve things at Howrah Station is not unknown, but as surprising as it may sound, pre-paid taxis were always available at Howrah station, way before HCP took charge, all it needed was a smart tweak in the system.
Radio Frequency Identity Device (RFID) is a state-of-the-art technology, implemented for the first time in India by Howrah City Police. The technology makes use of electromagnetic fields to automatically detect tags attached to it.
There are 6 RFID lanes outside the station and each lane has an individual RFID reader attached to it. Now, these readers are paired with tags; every tag has a unique sequence pairing with the reader and every taxi has a unique tag attached to it. These tags are simple sticker strips stuck on the windshield of these cabs. The benefits of this technology are as follows:
- Total elimination of manual recording: Upon entering the RFID lane the registration number of the taxi is recorded against the time when it entered the station into a common server.
- The server stores the data and allocates cabs according to order they entered into the station. So, the passenger selection procedure is a fair and transparentsystem for cab drivers and the bonafide passenger does not have to wait for his turn to get a taxi.
- The taxi driver enjoys a government approved higher fare as compared to a metered fare.
- As the taxi driver has to come back to the station to take his payment, a record of his number against the receipt is maintained; so any loss of property during the ride or bad behavior on the part of the driver can be tracked and addressed when he comes back.
This transparency in system introduced through RFIDs by Howrah City Police has seen pre paid counter getting 6,500 taxis recordedper day instead of just 500 as was the case earlier. This has eliminated the role of touts in the station completely. And, the implementation of this technology has earned the HCP a nomination in the Prime Minister’s award for innovation.
E – Taxi
- Now, in order to avoid queues at the pre-paid taxi booth, one can book the facility by paying online for the service beforehand.
- On paying you’ll generate a 4-6 digits pin code for your service.
- After arriving at the station, in any of the two machines in the station you can enter the pin and generate a receipt with the taxi registration number and your trip details in it.
- With this receipt you can take the cab directly from the booth, without standing in any queue.
M – Taxi (E – Taxi mobile app)
- Simply download the M Taxi app from the Play Store on your Smartphone
- Select journey date
- Choose destination & enter contact number
- Make payment
So the next time you come back to the city from Howrah station, while your friends wait in the queue for their pre-paid taxi, you can simply get into the cab you’ve already booked!