Seeking to cash in on introduction of the Linke Holfmann Busch (LHB) coaches, the Railways have decided to enhance RAC (reservation against cancellation) berths.
The Railway Board will increase RAC accommodation in air-conditioned coaches of Rajdhani and Duronto Express trains to begin with. RAC passengers are provided with sitting arrangements and can, if they so desire, share their berth.
The Railways intend to increase the number of RAC seats in AC-II and AC-III coaches from four to six each once the Centre for Railway Information Systems makes the modification in the booking software.
Three side-berths will be earmarked for the purpose.
However, those travelling under RAC category will still be paying the same fare as those who have secured their berth.
No concessions will be entertained. Thus, in effect, passengers will be made to pay for a berth but have to endure a tight squeeze throughout the journey.
The journey will be all the more tiring for those travelling long distances on the Rajdhani and non-stop Duronto trains. These trains usually have 15 two-tier and three-tier air-conditioned coaches, which means an increase of about 30 seats.
In monetary terms, the Railways, according to officials, could be looking at making a cool Rs. 50,000 extra per trip during peak seasons. In effect, the Railways will just be cramping a few passengers more in the limited space and making them pay for it.