Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) is all set to launch pod hotel at the Mumbai Central railway station. The Japanese-style pod hotel will feature a building with several small capsules or pods that offer overnight stay to the passengers. It is likely to be launched by the end of this month. The waiting rooms, located on the first floor of the station, is being used for the purpose and the cheapest pod is likely to cost Rs 999 for 12 hours. The pods will have features such as WiFi, air conditioning, key card access, washrooms and CCTV surveillance apart from other basic amenities.
Sleeping pods are a popular feature of international tourism in Japan that allows travellers to find accommodation at rates far cheaper than conventional hotels. According to reports, there will be 48 pods at Mumbai Central including 30 classic pods, seven ladies-only pods, 10 private pods and one disabled-friendly pod. It is also likely to have 5 only-shower units.
Sharing a video about the hotel, the then railway minister Piyush Goyal in February 2019, had tweeted: “Changing Nation, Changing Railway: The country’s first POD Hotel will be built at Mumbai Central Railway Station, due to the special design of this hotel offering world-class facilities in a low budget, more passengers can be accommodated in less space.”
बदलता देश, बदलती रेलवेः देश का पहला POD Hotel मुंबई सैंट्रल रेलवे स्टेशन पर बनाया जायेगा, कम बजट में विश्वस्तरीय सुविधायें देने वाले इस होटल में विशेष डिजाइन के कारण कम जगह में भी अधिक यात्रियों को ठहराया जा सकेगा। pic.twitter.com/O7uOmYeJAr— Piyush Goyal (@PiyushGoyal) February 20, 2019
Indian railways had awarded the contract to M/s Urban Pod Pvt Ltd to set-up, operate and manage the POD concept retiring rooms for 9 years through Open tender. The site was handed over to the developer in February this year, and are scheduled for commissioning by end of October.
Recently the Central Railway started a ‘Restaurant on Wheels’ in Mumbai at Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (CSMT) under Innovative Ideas in catering policy. The restaurant, made using a discarded rail coach and mounted on rails, is located in the Heritage Gully, opposite platform no. 18 at CSMT.
The Heritage Gully has rail artifacts including narrow gauge locomotives, parts of old printing press etc. The place offers ample space besides easy connectivity to the suburbs via the Freeway.