Brilliant! Now you can book a cab and porter at your destination station before the train arrives at that station through Indian Rail’s new online ‘concierge services’. For now, it’s only available at 22 stations, including Tirupati, Mumbai, New Delhi, Patna, Howrah and Mysore, but, presumable the program will be expanded. Online booking for wheel chair and stretcher services for elderly or sick people is also available.
They have also launched e-catering services in select trains to begin with. The plan is to integrate the best food chains in the country into e-catering services so that train passengers have the option to place online order for food when you are booking your tickets.
I do hope that booking porters and taxis in advance means that you only pay the official rate. I always dread coming into New Delhi or old Delhi stations more than any others in India because the porters and waiting taxis and auto-rickshaws are so used to charging outrageous prices to foreigners.
For the record, the official rate for porters is currently Rs60 per up to 40kg head-load—but some porters demand Rs500 or more. The boldest ones ask for Rs1,000! The trouble is that some people just pay it because it seems reasonable in comparison to New York or Paris porter rates. Incidentally, most stations have the rates posted somewhere. As far as I know, there is nowhere in India where the rate is higher than Delhi. I usually give the porters a little more than the posted rate unless they are really obnoxious in their demands, in which case they just get the going rate.Be sure to note the porter’s badge number whenever you engage one. They like to hide their badges so you won’t be able to track them or report them for misbehaving.
To know the current taxi fares, click here. They have rates for all the major cities in India.