Train Crisis in India– Suvidha Trains Giving Passengers “aSuvidha”

Saturday, November 21, 2015 , 0 Comments

Given the fact that most (available) job opportunities are based only out of a very few cities in India, we are bound to migrate leaving our hometown at an early age. Going back home on the festivals are something we look forward to the entire year. Thanks to Indian Railways for making this a herculean task for us!

Though, I dearly appreciate the special trains being launched by railways for the ease of passengers during festivals. But I am extremely disappointed with the services provided in this special addition that are no less than a nightmare for passengers. Most trains (regular or special) are running late for about 3-9 hours. The trains that run on long routes reach to some stations after mid night, making the passengers (and those who accompany him/her) awake the entire night to wait for the train’s arrival. A standard six-hour journey turns out to be an eighteen-hour journey! One can almost reach to the US in that many hours!!! Uff!

Fortunately, Indian railways have evolved a lot over last few years. I was very lucky to start travelling in the era when booking tickets has already gone online. I am sure the older generation appreciates this facility a lot more than we do. The booking window opens 120 days prior to the date of travel. You have a long four-month time to plan your travel. Though, all seats get immediately booked up as soon as the window opens, leaving hardly any space for last-minute-planners like me!

Well, I have been a regular passenger of Indian Railways for last few years, owing to the same reason mentioned above. Travelling from New Delhi- my workplace, to my hometown- Allahabad has been the most common and frequent route for me in these years. The only difference that I am experiencing with each next trip is that the cost is getting higher and the facilities getting lesser. For a third-class AC ticket, one has to pay almost double now than the amount last year. Additionally, the curtains being provided in a third-class AC compartment have been removed now.

The special ‘Premium’ facility given to us resembles with the booking system in the US. The sooner you plan, the cheaper it gets for you! It is a great relief to the passengers who are not-so-early-planners or those who have to travel on short notice. If you want a seat, you have to pay unreasonably high amount charged as “dynamic” pricing over the base fare. But that’s okay. It’s your choice. You are not bound to buy those tickets. The only problem I have with this facility is that even after charging that high amount of money, the accountability on railways part is zero on these facilities. Nobody is responsible if the train is late for a few hours. No compensation is made to passengers for the great inconvenience caused due to these delays, and consequences of getting late to work /meeting, or missing next flight/ train etc.

For some reasons, the aam-admi in India has become super tolerant to all of this. We don’t react at all if a train is late for a couple of hours. That’s something we take for granted! Some of us hardly speak only when the inconvenience gets to its peak. A trip that earlier costed around Rs 2000-3000 now almost costs Rs. 10,000, with no real or visible addition to its facilities or services. 

The journey from home to the railway station was a trip that took away my complete faith from the entire traffic system in New Delhi. The great chaos of vehicles near the railway stations, bus and auto stops took my imagination to a whole new world full of filth and noise and pollution. The longest I could see from bare eyes, was full of empty buses ready to travel inter-states. Public was on road trying to get out of that horrible traffic-jam and board a bus that could easily get out of it. I was counting seconds on my fingers as I just didn’t want to miss my “special train” booked after taking so much pain.  After boarding the train, I was so thankful to my auto-wala who took a great trouble for dropping me to the ANVT station at Ghaziabad. Now I was on my special Suvidha train that was launched to handle Diwali-crowd. I took a deep sigh of relief. Who knew that time that the journey has just started. There was so much more to come before I could finally reach to my destination!

I hope that we don‘t become so numb that one day we are left as puppets run by some handful of politicians as and when they want. As a consumer, citizen, or passenger it’s your right and responsibility to speak for yourself when there is a need. The least we can do is –start voicing!

Some say he’s half man half fish, others say he’s more of a seventy/thirty split. Either way he’s a fishy bastard.