India’s Central Railway Division in Mumbai has started offering commuters free on-board entertainment services. So far, only ten out of the 165 trains have been kitted out with the necessary routers.
Central Railway operates 1020 daily services throughout the metropolitan region of Mumbai, which is home to 23 million people. The operator, one of 18 railway divisions across the sub-continent, said that work is under way on covering the remaining trains which should be offering the service soon.
“The commuters of Mumbai Division, Central Railway will now be able to avail an infotainment experience through ‘Content on Demand’ service. This service will also provide access to information, entertainment, shopping, education and upskilling services, payment platforms etc.,” said an officer of CR.
One of the main features of the new service is an app that allows passengers to download a selection of pre-loaded TV, film and music content to their devices. The train operator will ultimately generate revenue via a licensing deal, whilst the app owner will charge companies for pre-sold advertising spots in the downloaded content.
Commuters using the app will have an option to choose their preferred language and watch the pre-loaded movies or videos on their smartphones. According to Central Railways, the infotainment service is being launched to increase the non-fare revenue of Indian Railways. Last year, the Railway Board issued directives to all the 18 zones of Indian Railways to increase their income.
To access the service, passengers will have to download the ‘SugarBox’ app developed by the service provider. The commuters will not be charged for access to the app or for data consumption. However, whilst the service will be free to passengers, the Central Railway will charge service providers, who in turn, will recover the cost through the sale of advertisements.
Track-side connectivity and on-board WiFi provision will be the main subjects of this year’s Traincomms Conference.
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