As part of its efforts to contain the impact of COVID-19 infection, Indian Railways has made functional two 24-hr Helplines – 138 & 139 - to answer inquiries, provide assistance & to disseminate relevant information to railway customers and others during the 21-day all-India lockout. Suggestions would also be accepted.
The idea of using the number 138 is to use, in addition to the call-centre based agent & IVRS services provided through 139, the wide reach of Indian Railways to service the large number of its patrons across the country. It is also clear that a large number of non-Railway related queries, especially pertaining to COVID, might come from persons well versed only in the local language. The information sought would also be local and regional.
Indian Railways has opened a Railway Board Control Cell to ensure seamless flow of information and suggestions between Railway Administration and general public. This Control Office would work round the clock and shall be manned by a Director level officer. It would monitor calls received on the centralised Railway Helpline 139 and the decentralised Railway Helpline 138, in addition to monitoring trends on social media, especially Twitter, to communicate and alleviate any difficulties faced by Railway customers and others by taking timely action. Further complaints, suggestions or queries can also be mailed to email@example.com.
While 139 will continue to work centrally as presently, 138 is a Helpline which will take the caller directly to the local Railway Division so as to provide him the updated local and regional information. Both 138 & 139 as well as Social Media cell would be manned round-the-clock to answer inquiries, provide assistance (wherever possible) & to disseminate relevant information to Railway customers and others. Suggestions would also be accepted. Helpline personnel would have updated information, inter alia, on issues like refund, State/District/Railway medical facilities, and updated Local/Regional/National Helpline Numbers for COVID-19 detection and aid.