Pune: The Indian Railways have given a major relief to elderly women travelling alone during long journey on trains as they will get lower berths automatically while booking their ticket through online or Passengers Reservation System (PRS). The railway has also fixed the lower berth for senior citizens on all express/mail trains.
The railways have issued a circular on April 12. The circular stated that in all trains having reserved sleeping accommodation, a combined quota of six lower berths per coach in sleeper class and three lower berths per coach each in AC 3 tier and AC 2 tier classes has been earmarked for senior citizens, female passengers of 45 years of age and above and pregnant women.
“Lower berths earmarked under senior citizen and women’s quota in the respective classes by default will get allotted to them. If the berths are already booked, they will be given berths under general quota,” said a commercial officer of the Pune railway division.
In April 2016, to reduce the ordeal of elderly people climbing upper berths, the railways earmarked four lower berths per coach in sleeper class and two lower berths per coach in air-conditioned three-tier (3AC) and air-conditioned two-tier (2AC) classes for senior citizens, women passengers who were over 45-year-old and pregnant women when travelling alone.
In case of Rajdhani, Duronto and fully air-conditioned express trains, four lower berths were earmarked per coach in third AC class.
Women passengers have welcomed the move by the railways. “This is a good decision taken by the railways and finally they will allot lower berths to women. Most of the time when we book the tickets, upper berths are allotted to us. We face many difficulties during journey while climbing on the upper berths.
The co-passengers do not exchange their berths,” said Priti Upadhyay (48). adding that the decision should have been taken earlier, she added.
- In a computerised PRS, there is a provision to allot lower berths to senior citizens, female passengers of 45 years and above automatically, even if no choice is given, subject to availability of accommodation at the time of booking.
- The provision to allot the lower berth to women passengers was initiated earlier, but there was no mention of the age of the women. Now, the decision has taken with mention of the age. If the age is 45 and above, the system will book lower birth automatically.
- Lower berths to pregnant women will be allotted only if the tickets are booked at PRS counters.