In a constant state of chaos!!

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Too tired about 3 tiers!!

One of the most touturous things to ever happen in Indian Railways recently is the introduction of extra side berths. ie, previously each coupee area had six berths and 2 side berths (total 8 people). Some smart alec devised a plan to increase the number of people travelling in each bogey thereby increasing the revenue. He decided to introduce a third berth on the side; obviously he was not one who travelled much by train I assume.

The idea was put into effect from Jnauary and the extra seats were installed in a lot of trains. But the way they reorganized the numbering of the seats in the train was done in the most slip-shoddy manner. Usually numbers are put in 3 places:
a) on the side walls of the coupee indicating the sleeping berths ie. upper, middle and lower
b) same way on walls of the side berths also indicating the sleeping berths ie, upper and lower
c) just above the lowered seats indicating the order in which the people can sit.
After the 3rd side berth had been fixed in the trains, all the above 3 seat numberings were done in 3 different ways. Example a person having seat number 44 had no.44 written in marker ink in 3 totally different places. Added to this, the seat allocation in the tickets also became a big mess as the manual system of ticket booking did not match with the electronic system (tickets booked through IRCTC websites). Many seat numbers were duplicated!!!
This created a lot of confusion and havoc among the travellers and during those couple of days and even the TTC was also missing!!! (fearing for his life maybe) which just had the travellers settling in different places wherever the fellow passengers allowed. I had reason to travel a couple of times in January and it was well after midnight when finally everyone sorted out their differences and went to sleep.

Another issue which came up due to this new system was that it brought about extreme discomfort for the passesngers getting the side berths. The person on the top had to lie almost sqashed near the roof of the coach and the side seats were very uncomfortable for people who were taller than 5'9ft. Only children could be expected to lie comfortably in the side upper berths.

All these problems resulted in the entire idea being valued as a too chaotic and futile and the Railway department decided to revert back to the old system. They just simply decided not to use the middle berths. Doing that will avoid the problem of confusion but still it wont solve the problem of the stifling side upper berth. Now every TTC who comes gives the passengers a different order to sit and to avoid any more confusion the people dont stand to fight with each other. They just shift places.

The problem persisted for a couple of more weeks and by now everyone has got used to being back to the old system. But now there is a convenience for any extra people travelling in the train like RAC. They can just snuggle in one of the extra middle berths. :-)

http://www.keralatips.org/2008/08/07/indian-railways-to-offer-more-torture-adds-extra-berth/

(Here is a person who is facing the same ongoing ruckus as myself every time he travels. I have taken the photograph of the berth from this blog.)

http://www.enidhi.net/2007/12/indian-railway-goes-crazy-adds-extra.html

(A very detailed article)

http://indianrailways.informe.com/forum/retro-fitting-of-side-middle-berths-in-sl-and-3-ac-coaches-dt181.html

(The official indian railways forum with passengers baying for the blood of railway personnel!!)

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