AI (Artificial Intelligence) has been solely restricted to the detection of criminal antecedents through facial recognition in Indian Railways. However, there has been a noticeable gap in the discussion relevant to what are the other problems AI can solve for the Indian Railways. According to the Union Minister Shri Ravi Shankar, AI can be utilised in the domains of health, diagnostics, agriculture and education to uplift the lives of the marginalized and the underprivileged.
But there are numerous AI-based solutions that can make life easier for the millions of rail travellers in India and completely change the Pre-boarding, Onboarding and Post-Onboarding experience for the commuters for better.
AI in pre-boarding experience
The biggest challenge the passengers face apart from the tickets booking scam is to actually book the tickets. People have to be tech savvy to visit the online platforms for booking tickets. Though, there are options where you may opt for phone booking where you can choose to speak in your mother tongue. But inspite of that speaking in a dialect with heavy mother tongue influence can appear to be ambitious.
AI can upgrade the IRCTC website and app to do much more. Based on the purpose of visit, final destination, probable delays and other factors, the Railways can help the passengers choose the right train. The AI can also help align the platforms based on the numbers of pregnant ladies, elderly and differently-abled passengers who are travelling by a particular train at a particular time. This will ease the boarding process for them. Al can also help in detecting defaulters or people flocking the station without proper travel or platform tickets if the number of tickets collected is less than the number of people present at the platform at a specific time. The authorities can be alerted and the required intervention can be carried out.
AI in onboard experience
The onboarding challenges like automated destination alerts, managing the unauthorized travellers and hawkers and the safety issues that might arise out of it can be carried out with the help of AI solutions. Though it does not guarantee complete prevention of hawkers and travellers without tickets but definitely there will be a visible difference from the current scenario.
AI in post-deboarding experience
The post-deboarding experience can be made better by implementation of AI. accessibility of porters, booking cabs, hotels can be organized through the AI. The amount for the same can be included with their tickets. This will help the first-time visitors at major stations to avoid confusions, chaos and any kind of harassment.
The AI stimulated services will not only make traveling experience better for the passengers but also add to the revenue of the Indian Railways which is the need of the hour, especially in the post-COVID scenario.
None of the above mentioned solutions are too big an ask. Some private players in the travel sector have already implemented these to attract customers and provide them with a world-class travel experience. A little AI layer can make one of the biggest railway networks in the world more efficient and profitable.