The Railways has kept in abeyance the decision not to issue sleeper and third AC tickets to unreserved passengers who wish to travel during day time in trains, which had invited widespread protests from commuters.
Palakkad Additional Divisional Railway Manager Mohan A Menon said the decision to keep the order in abeyance is to maintain status quo which had prevailed prior to the issual of the directive by the Railway Board not to issue sleeper tickets to unreserved passengers. He said the directive to keep it in abeyance was announced by the Southern Railway in consultation with the Railway Board.
Since the decision of the Railway Board was of a pan-India nature, it is subject to review. So the decision to keep it in abeyance is a temporary one, he said.
According to the Advanced Rate Notification issued by the Commercial directorate of the Railway Board on September 15, the power to issue sleeper and third AC tickets through the Unreserved Ticketing System (UTS) was being withdrawn. It meant that the short-distance commuters intending to travel in sleeper class during day time will have to either book the ticket in advance through the PRS or purchase an ordinary ticket and get it upgraded on board the train from the TTE. While the Palakkad division had begun implementing the decision from September 16 by pasting an information in this regard at the booking counter and issuing the circular to various stations, the Thiruvananthapuram division had kept it in abeyance.
In the wake of widespread protests, the heads of Palakkad and Thiruvananthapuram divisions of the Railways informed the Southern Railway headquarters that the decision not to issue sleeper tickets to unreserved passengers during day time will not be practical in Kerala. Moreover, it will result in a serious dip in revenue for the Railways.
The Southern Railway took it up with the Railway Board and intimated that the decision has been temporarily reversed. Various passengers associations had come out against the move stating that it was not practical for the TTEs to address the needs of each and every ordinary ticket holder as they are already burdened with the task of examining three to four coaches in one shift.