Saturday, July 24, 2010

Railways, going going gone

Indian Railways operates an insidious quota system over the internet. Over the past one year odd, I have observed that internet bookings are now relegated to the worst coaches and seats. Heres my bet. When you book your tickets, the chances that you will be banished to either end of the coach is extraordinarily high. Even if the train has about 300 odd vacant seats, you, the internet booker - who takes the load off the various counters launched across the country will be penalised and presented with a seat that is very near the toilet. Perhaps they think that those who have less bladder control book over the net - it takes lots of bladder control to stand in a railway queue and book your tickets. And for this, you have to pay a service charge as well - for not burdening the system.

The rate at which railways is offering jobs to the next of kin of those who get killed in the Indian railways journey of probability, they will need all these pseudo subsidies to stay afloat. They will indeed become the largesse employer in the world (slightly different from largest).

I just do not get this. First of all why have a quota system? Earlier, the internet bookers got the choice of seats - the center seats in coaches. Either of them is wrong. Why not offer them the choice of seats? Heck, even airlines and bus online reservations let you do it.

Why not railways? And charge us 25 bucks or 50 or 100 bucks for the privilege? In any case, they are charging us, why not offer a service and charge?

In any case, railways are the last resort of travel for most of those who can afford any other means. And the way it is being run into the ground, it wont last for too long. Antiquated rolling stock, signalling systems, speeds that even old steam locos would not be proud of - well, any romance left in railway journeys is now gone. Thanks, Minster!

2 comments:

Nikhil Narayanan said...

Neel,
Sure that such a quota system exists?
I hope you are wrong, but with Mamta didi at the helm, I am sure I am wrong.
-Nikhil

ecophilo said...

I dont know :) but wit 300 seats left, I have got toilet facing seats more than a few times. So, unless they are reading this blog and algorithm is tuned only to my login I dont know :) Heh!