Bleary-eyed passengers unhappy with new railway sleep timings
By: Ritika Gondhalekar
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Passengers sleeping inside the train
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Train halt at station
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Boy lying down on his seat
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Railway Division Office, Bangalore
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Passengers in train
Bangalore, October 6: Passengers are unhappy with the new sleep timings on Indian Railways. Recently, the railways reduced sleeping time in trains by an hour. People could earlier sleep from 9 pm to 6 am, but are now allowed only 10pm to 6am.
Late sleepers and night travelers seem the most upset. “The new rule is not at all convenient as there are many people who board the train late in the night; around 2 pm or 3 pm. So for them it will be really difficult as they won’t get rest at all,” said Hemant Mahajan, a passenger. Another traveler, Rakesh Mishra said that these timings are inconvenient as he does not sleep early.
The circular states that the new timings allow other passengers to sit on the lower berths. The new rule also says that all those who have reservations on the upper berths have no access to the lower berth between 10 pm and 6 am.
This circular makes exceptions for sick people, the differently-abled and pregnant women. “There isn’t any provision for senior citizens. It is really uncomfortable for us to sit and travel for long hours,” said Dattaram (69), a traveler from Bangalore to Mumbai.
Railway officials, however, said that the rule has been changed as a result of many complaints received about passengers who sleep longer hours. “The railway was bombarded with many complaints which said passengers go off to sleep as soon as they board the trains. People who board at later stations were having trouble settling in, or having dinner. Thus the central department decided to take this decision,” said R.S. Saxena, Divisional Railway Manager, South Western Railway (Bangalore).
He also said that the railway is planning to create a space for complaints in the existing online complaints forum on the website. “Passengers will be able to complain about their fellow passengers. This complaint will be directed to the ticket collector on duty who will try to resolve the problem or fine them if necessary,” said Saxena.
However, the railway has not yet decided on the sum of the fine.
“I agree that earlier there were certain timings to sleep but almost none of them followed. All used to sleep according to the time they boarded the train which I feel to some extent is correct as many of them board the trains late in the night,” said Ruchika, a passenger.
“If the passengers don’t co-operate and keep complaining about different things every time then it would be difficult for us to make them comfortable during the journey,” added Saxena.
Dr. Shankar Narayanan, psychiatrist at NIMHANS Hospital said that everybody needs at least six hours of sound sleep and while travelling passengers usually tend to sleep as they don’t have any major form of entertainment. “I think to some extent this rule is a problem as it may create more issues and fights,” added Shankar Narayanan.
The circular, dated August 31 came into force since September 17, 2017.