Train accident

Travel insurance on trains costs just 92 paise, but 65% of passengers give it a miss

Only 128 of the 695 on board the Indore-Patna Express that derailed in Kanpur on Sunday had signed up for it.

On September 1, the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation introduced an optional travel insurance scheme on train e-tickets booked through its website for a mere 92 paise per passenger, with a payout promise of up to Rs 10 lakhs. But close to three months on, the scheme does not seem to have made much of an impact on travellers.

Only 35% of passengers who book e-tickets opt for the scheme, according to figures shared by senior officials of the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation. This despite the low premium and compensation offers of up to Rs 10 lakhs in case of death or permanent total disability caused by train accidents, up to Rs 7.5 lakhs for permanent partial disability, up to Rs 2 lakhs for hospital expenses for injuries, and Rs 10,000 for transporting a victim’s mortal remains.

The derailment of the Indore-Patna Express in Kanpur on Sunday, which left at least 148 dead and over 200 injured, may prove to be a litmus test for the scheme. A day after the accident in Uttar Pradesh, The Indian Express reported that only 128 of the 695 passengers on that train had signed up for the travel insurance.

The Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation is now considering a proposal to make insurance scheme the default option for each e-ticket booked, unless a passenger chooses to cancel out, the report added.

Optional insurance scheme

“The scheme started on September 1 and around 3.5 lakh passengers on average are insured under the scheme every day,” said Sandip Dutta, spokesperson for the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation. “When it comes to bookings, around 5.7 lakh tickets are booked through the internet per day.”

According to another senior official with the railway firm, who did not want to be identified, these 5.7 lakh e-tickets translate into traffic of around 10 lakh passengers, since tickets can list more than one passenger on them.

Going by this data, around 3.5 lakh out of 10 lakh passengers who travel on e-tickets issued through the IRCTC website are covered by the insurance scheme – that is a daily average of 35%.

There has been a constant growth in e-ticket sales in the past few years. In 2014-’15, the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation achieved a daily average of 4.6 lakh e-tickets, covering around 9.4 lakh passengers.

The optional insurance scheme is anchored by IRCTC, in collaboration with three companies, ICICI Lombard, Royal Sundaram and Shriram General, which act as the insurers. The scheme is available for all classes of confirmed tickets – except for suburban trains. It applies not only in cases of accidents but also terrorist attacks, riots, robbery, shootouts, arson and accidental falls from trains, as described under sections 123, 124 and 124A of the Railways Act, 1989.

The insurance claim should be made not later than four months after the incident and the payout will be made within 15 days of the receipt of the last required document, according to a document on the IRCTC’s official website.

“The contractual obligations under the scheme are between passengers and insurers,” said the IRCTC official. “The liability of insurers under this scheme is excluded from other compensations, including those under the Railway Accidents and Untoward Incidents (Compensation) Amendment Rules, 1997.”

Under these rules, the amount of compensation payable for death is Rs 4 lakhs while the amount varies between Rs 32,000 and Rs 4 lakhs for injuries sustained.

Lack of awareness

Despite the obvious benefits, why do 65% of people who book e-tickets choose not oto pt for the insurance scheme? “One reason could be that the option has not yet been introduced in the IRCTC mobile application,” said the official.

Booking agents in Delhi offered a wide range of reasons for the cool response to the scheme. But most agreed that few travellers know about it.

“There is tremendous lack of awareness among passengers,” said Gulab, who owns a travel agency in Old Delhi’s Chandni Chowk.

Another agent said that there is also the problem of many rail ticket agents operating multiple booking accounts opened with fake details. “They take advantage of their clients’ lack of awareness and deliberately decline the option, assuming that their accounts will end up getting scrutinised if the question of verification in the name of the insurance policy arises,” this person said.

The rules for retail service providers registered with the IRCTC requires them to provide their correct address, mobile number, email address and PAN number on the registration form.

We welcome your comments at letters@scroll.in.
Sponsored Content  BY 

Understanding the engineering behind race cars

Every little element in these machines is designed to achieve power and speed.

All racing cars including stock, rally or Formula 1 cars are specially built to push the limits of achievable speed. F1 cars can accelerate to 90 km/h in less than two seconds and touch top speeds of over 320 km/h. Stock cars also typically achieve over 300 km/h. So what makes these cars go so fast? A powerful engine is combined with several other components that are relentlessly optimized to contribute to the vehicle’s speed. All these components can be grouped under four crucial elements:

Aerodynamics 

The fastest cars are the most aerodynamic. A sleek, streamlined design is a head-turner, but its primary function is to limit wind resistance against the vehicle. If a car is built to cut through the wind rather than push against it, it will travel faster and also use less fuel in the process. To further improve the aerodynamic quality of the car, everything from the wheel arcs and lights to the door handles and side mirrors are integrated into the overall structure to reduce the drag - the friction and resistance of the wind. For some varieties of race cars, automobile designers also reduce the shape and size of the car rear by designing the back of the car so that it tapers. This design innovation is called a lift-back or Kammback. Since aerodynamics is crucial to the speed of cars, many sports cars are even tested in wind tunnels

Power

All race car engines are designed to provide more horsepower to the car and propel it further, faster. The engines are designed with carburetors to allow more air and fuel to flow into them. Many sports and racing cars also have a dual-shift gear system that allows drivers to change gears faster. The shift time—or the brief time interval between gear changes when power delivery is momentarily interrupted—can be as little as 8 milliseconds with this gear system. Faster gear shifts enable the car to travel at their fastest possible speeds in shorter times.

Control

The ability to turn corners at higher speeds is crucial while racing and racing cars are often designed so that their floors are flat to maximize the downforce. Downforce is a downwards thrust that is created in a vehicle when it is in motion. This force exerts more pressure on the tyres increasing their grip on the road, and thereby enabling the car to travel faster through corners. The downforce can be so strong that at around 175 km/h, even if the road surface were turned upside down, the car would stick to the surface. Many racing cars like the Volkswagen Polo R WRC are even equipped with a large rear wing that helps generate extra downforce.

Weight

The total weight of the car and its distribution is a critical part of race car design. All race cars are made of durable but extremely light material that reduces the weight of the vehicle. Every part of the vehicle is evaluated and components that are not strictly required in the race car—such as trunks or back seats—are eliminated. The weight distribution in these cars is carefully calibrated since at high speeds it proves crucial to car control. As a result, almost all racing cars have an RMR configuration or a Rear Mid-engine, Rear-wheel-drive layout where the engine is situated at around the middle of the car (but closer to the rear than the front), just behind the passenger compartment. This layout where the car is a little heavier towards the rear than the front allows for better control of the car at high speeds.

Only the most cutting edge technology is used to develop modern race cars and as a result, they are normally far more expensive to buy and more difficult to maintain than regular ones. But your dream of owning a race car does not need to remain a dream. The Volkswagen GTI, part of the award-winning VW GTI family, is now coming to India. Since 1979, these sporty and powerful cars have been dominating roads and rally race tracks.

With a sleek aerodynamic build, a great power-to-weight ratio and 7-speed dual-shift gears, the Volkswagen GTI is the most accessible race car experience available in India. Packed with 189 bhp/ 192 PS, the car is capable of doing 0-100 km/h in just 7.2 seconds and boasts a top speed of 233 km/h. And though the car is built to be quick and powerful, it is also strong on fuel economy with an outstanding mileage of 16.34 km/l. To experience what it is like to drive a race car, book a test drive now.

This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Volkswagen and not by the Scroll editorial team.