Why not special quota for Senior Citizens in Trains?
Indian Railways provide special quota of seats reserved for Ladies, Armed staff, Emergency, VIPs and others. I would like to suggest that the Railway authorities must provide special quota for senior citizens. Presently there is 30% concession in tariff for male senior citizens and 50% concession for ladies. However when it comes to allocation of seats as a special category, Senior citizens are ignored. They may also be given preference, along with ladies, to be allotted lower berths wherever possible.
Such a provision will mitigate the problem of booking tickets. While a person goes to the station for booking the train tickets, in larger cities, special counters or queues are allocated for Senior citizens, ladies, disabled etc. This is a welcome improvement. But the system though said to be available in metros -- it is more on paper than in reality. Today I read in Deccan Chronicle that though separate counters are provided in Kukatpally Tickets Office, they are ineffective. People queue up much before the counter opening time outside the Station. Once the gates are opened there is chaos and everyone rushes madly to gain priority in the queue. This can be managed easily by giving tokens say some half an hour earlier to people as an when they arrive. Or as they do in private banks, printed tokens showing Q position by vending machines may be kept for self vending.
Similarly in city and District buses the Andhra Pradesh State government has allocated two seats next to the driver for senior citizens. This is shared with disabled as well. But the seats are seldom available to old people. They are occupied by youngsters and conductors / drivers are reluctant to ask such youngsters to get up and make way for old people. Provisions are made with good intentions but implementation is poor.
As senior citizens constitute nearly 8% of the entire population, it is only fair and democratic that such provisions as indicated above are made.