First published during December 2007. Reposted with relevant photos.
Indian Railways has decided to increase the capacity of its trains by about 12% by introducing an additional berth in the coaches. Refer the images- an additional berth is being introduced in all coaches, which will be positioned inbetween the side-upper and side-lower berths. Passengers who are allotted this berth need to share the seat with the 3 other people who occupy the main seat (Refer last image)
Reportedly this idea of increasing the capacity has been accepted to generate more revenue by carrying more passengers in same number of trains, so that the need to increase ticket fare will be eliminated.
This change did cause lots of confusion among passengers w.r.t their seat numbers-as seat numbers mentioned in ticket (booked before the new seating was fed to computer) and seat number assigned in the final chart (which was according to new seating layout) were different-sleeping passengers were forced to wake up by newly entered passengers who thought their seat has been intruded and TTE had to intervene to dose the confusion. (Any change brings in confusion-can't really complain)
But most of the passengers are irked by this move which is guaranteed to cause more and more inconvenience to the passengers as they have to share their seats and luggage space with the extra traveler. Indian Railways has been implementing this without taking passengers into confidence.
1. More passengers in same space-More revenue, no need to hike fares. (This only postpones price hike for few months or years-Doesn't ensure that ticket fare will never be hiked.)
2. Its better to travel somehow than not travel at all (due to non availability of seats) Lot of people are desparate to travel and sleep on floors or wherever there's space. It might be good idea to accomodate them somehow, even if it means inconvenience to others. (If I or You happen to be one of those desparate passengers who could get a berth only because of this new system, we'll certainly thank railways for this, not if otherwise)
1. Major compromise on convenience-Less space for seating, luggages and to move around.
2. Money needs to spent in making changes to the coaches (install extra berths), change reservation system.
3. If passengers get irritated by this new system they may head towards low cost airlines, resulting in loss to railways. (very low probability though)
4. Indian Railways monopolistic decision enforced without taking passengers into confidence.
5. The relief it might bring to passengers will be very short termed. Given the rate of population explotion, even the extra seats will soon be insuffecient.
6. The 9th passenger has to travel like an unwanted creature-No dedicated luggage space, seat has to be shared with others, berth has to be folded to let others sit
7. Railway sticker says 9PM to 6AM is night time during which berths can be folded. But not everyone follow this timing-people stay awake till late night and prefer to sleep till 9 AM-Others will have to compromise
8. This is just a temporary work around. With ever exploding population, this also will soon prove to be insuffecient. Adding more compartments/running more trains can be a better alternative.
What do you think of this idea? Drop a comment.
Will it not be better for railways to add more chair cars where in people can sit and travel, particularly for short haul journeys? Chair cars can accomodate more people than a sleeper coach. better still, what prevents adding few extra bogies?
What next? an additional berth in between the 3 existing berths?