Thursday, October 18, 2007

Cutting the middleman

While all around the world, the middleman is finding his days are numbered, the railways is doing the most ridiculous thing. In the already crowded side seat, they are squeezing a third seat/berth.

Will the three passengers sit with their feet hanging in the corridors (I cant think of any other way), unlike now when they sit facing each other. As it is, anybody over 5 foot 4 inches will barely manage to squeeze in, so now the railways will have to allot seats based on height or perhaps it wont bother, it will just let the passengers manage that.

The other question being, in any case in most trains during peak time, there is an RAC passenger who hangs around; you might as well give a berth, but the question is at the cost of still lower passenger comfort? Now there are two seats and the third is sold as an RAC, seating only seat. So with the third seat now legitimate, does that mean that RAC is no longer available? Or will it make the cramped sleeper class more cramped by selling some more RAC tickets - after all revenue is boosted, is it not? This is another populist measure - you do not want to raise ticket prices because you think you will lose votes, so you squeeze more and more and make it so bad that the railways will slowly die into scrap heap.

To me this is an ill conceived move. Might as well stack passengers like chicken in a poultry truck. As passenger comfort increases in other modes of transport, the railways are going in another direction. Get ready to lose more passengers to airlines and buses...


vatsan said...

when it comes to transporting india's middle class (non IT) workers, the railways dominate. I remember a study quoting that the avg white collar worker makes 15k/pm. they will depend on railways. being a monopoly, railways can get away with any shit they do.

Railways, Airlines, Buses are imperfect substitutes, which is why railways get away with all crap

vatsan said...

with 15K pm, and 2000 an avg airline ticket,family of 4 eats up 50% of salary, wheras railways its 500-600 a ticket and total cost is 2500