Thoda adjust kar lo...in 'Garib Raths'
Normally, passengers in trains adjust and oblige with lower berths for senior citizens and expecting mothers considering the fact that they cannot not get into middle or upper berths. Now, it looks like Indian Railways have made it their motto by asking everyone to adjust. And we Indians seem to be good at the art of adjusting with anything and everything even if it means risk to our lives. Look at the way the new AC 3tier coaches are designed. I managed to dig out this newpaper report on 'redesign of coaches'.
In the last couple of months I travelled thrice to Bangalore by three different trains - Kacheguda-Bangalore Express, Kacheguda Yashwantpur Express and Bangalore Rajdhani Express. I've been travelling by trains for years, but this time the exprience in AC-3 tier in Bangalore trains including Rajdhani Express has been harrowing to say the least. Well, in Rajdhani too, the bedsheets and blankets seem to have remained unwashed for ages! Thanks to Lalu Prasad Yadav's Garib Rath and new management concepts for Indian Railways, all normal AC-3 Tiers have been re-designed and converted to nine passengers per compartment. Several compromises seem to have been made in terms of quality of service, infractructure and so on. This new idea may have helped Indian Railways fill the coffers but for the common person it spells trouble. Now nine people share the seats which is originally meant for eight. We have three side berths and with AC fluctuations it gets suffocating. The 'unfortunate' ninth passenger with a confusing odd number who gets the side middle berth remains at the mercy of other passengers for his/her seat during the day time.
Where are the principles of design and usability in the whole coach re-design process? I guess these have been sacrificed for better revenue for railways. With the introduction of an extra berth the lower and upper berth spaces are very congested, forget about sleeping, you cannot even lie down properly, wonder how someone who's more than 5-5" adjusts in this space. What if the passenger is on the heavier side and gets the side middle berth? Is there a weight-limit? What about the way these berths are folded? There are several issues like this that one gets to think of ....
Note: The pics in this blog are from the Internet and not from the train in which I travelled.