Indian Railways can take the benefit of lock down by making some revolutionary changes.
The 21 days of lockdown period can be historical. With entire travellers system has been closed down, and all passengers carrying trains halted is yards, this is the right time to take major decisions.
Now a days, there are two different types of reservation booking. E ticket booking through IRCTC, a complete digitalised transaction and another is PRS booking through reservation counters on railway stations. The PRS booking system transaction is mostly done by cash. Both booking systems generate waiting positions in large quantities after the allotment of confirmed positions.
The problem starts when the charts were prepared. The waiting list e-tickets are treated as canceled and dropped from the charts, money is refunded in passenger’s account used while booking and the matter closed. But the PRS waiting list ticket holder are included in passenger reservation charts along with confirmed passengers list. They are supposed not to travel in reserved coaches. They can either cancel their w/l tickets, accept the refunded amount as per rule, or buy second class ticket, and make their journey by general class.
The irregularities get created because finally generated charts include the names of waiting list ticket holders. These passengers do not cancel their w/l tickets and fiercely try to travel in reserved coaches.
Air-conditioned classes are aided by commercial and amenity staff but the non AC coaches that is sleeper class and second sitting are not. There are 12-13 coaches attached in trains and the examining staff is just 2 or 3. They are obviously not able to provide better service for conformed passengers. The coaches are massively overcrowded. This creates a harassing situation for all the passengers. Everyday there are complaints such incident on Twitter to railway admin and security.
The following remedies can be used by Indian Railways:
-Strictly close all issuing of waiting list tickets from PRS counters. After all vacant positions are booked at PRS counters, the system will shows “no room” although E-tickets can be booked as RAC or W/L.
-At least mail, express and more than upper catagory trains must be fully reserved trains, without any second class general coaches. The last lower class should be 2nd seating in all long distance mail express trains including passenger trains also which are running more than 300km.
-There should be strict restrictions on MST passes.
MST/ QST passes: Prohibit issuing MST passes over 100 km in non EMU services area. Currently it is 150km allowed.
MST/QST Pass holders should be allowed only in passenger trains, EMU / DMU / MEMU trains. Currently, no one takes care how is anyone traveling.
Clubbing of MST/QST pass, travelling in restricted trains, the pass holder may be blacklist for malpractice. Rule is in force but implementation….
Composition of all passenger trains converted into sleeper class coaches. conventional, non LHB coaches, which are already in spare capacity in railway yards. It may provide great relief to short distance travellers.
Currently railway administration does not have any control on quantity of passengers in particular trains, or even on platform. If they follow these pattern, they will get up todate with all passengers identity, and counts. They can curbs on all illegal activities in railway area and running trains. They can provide better service to genuine passengers.
These actions will be beneficial not only to railways administration, but also to the passengers.