At the first sight, the introduction of Super Super Luxury Anubhuti coaches on IR trains may appear to be out of sync with the politically right stance of more and more equality. But to hold that view, you need to be either a hypocrite or an incorrigible air traveller. Because, if you have travelled in Sleeper Class on any well frequented train route in India you must have noticed the sure ‘cattle class’isation of that mode of travel.
Before you begin wondering what ‘cattle class’isation is, let me tell you : travelling in a SL bogey without a proper ticket, and as a result, overcrowding the bogey. These are not ticketless travellers. They do hold tickets; mostly waitlisted, sometimes of a lower class. They do not mind paying the full fare (and even more !). The argument for accommodating them is simple : they need to travel, but the train cannot ‘officially’ accommodate them.
You may conclude that this calls for expanding the carrying capacity of the IR system : increasing the number of bogeys in a train or the number of trains to a destination. That may appear obvious, but may not be feasible in terms of efficiency and safety. Perhaps what it calls for is something out of the box : increase the differentiation between the classes. The gradual differentiation running over a large number of classes should be replaced with a simple 3-class structure, with a wide differential between them. Let Anubhuti be the Class 1 and Sitting be the Class 3; have just one class between the two, providing an air-conditioned sleeper. This Class 2could be a little above 3 AC.
Video Anubhuti Coach – Indian Railways
Sitting or the Class 3 should be totally in the chair car style so that it can accommodate more passengers. Are we regressing back to the old 3rdClass ? No. Who said we cannot provide comforts in the Sitting class ? In fact, if the Sitting becomes comfortable enough, there will be lesser tendency to usurp the higher class seats; the ‘cattle class’isation syndrome is a result of an increase in the purchasing capacity of the passengers without the corresponding increase in the quality of travel, and a permeable separation between the classes. Of course, what goes without saying is the need to enforce more strictly the possession of a valid ticket.