Whenever you go to watch a movie, you select the seats where you want to sit by yourself so that you can enjoy the movie with a better view. But, when you travel by train what you are allowed to do is just to enter your seat preference hoping it would be allotted to you. Have you ever wondered why that happens? Why can’t you choose the seat of your choice? If yes, then you can find the answer to that question in this article.
If you want to travel anywhere in the country, the train is the most convenient and affordable transportation option. It is the lifeline of the Indian transportation system. It is constantly working towards enhancing the travel experience of passengers. Even so, being a traveller, you can’t select your desired seat, let’s understand why.
What is Algorithm All About?
The algorithm that IRCTC uses automatically allots seats to distribute the load equally to the moving trains. Let us break it out more for you. Imagine, there are 434 seats, and you booked the very first ticket with the preference for the Upper Seat. When booking gets completed, you were not allotted your preferred seat, but you still find 399 tickets remaining. Here’s what the algorithm had done: If there are sleeper class coaches in a train numbered S1, S2, S3... S6, and in every coach, there are 72 seats. So, whoever books the first ticket will likely get the middle coach like S3, middle seat numbered between 30-40, and most likely lower berths to avoid derailment or any other grave danger.
What if tickets are booked randomly?
The average speed of a train is around 65-70 km/h. And, let’s assume that S1, S2 coaches are full, and S3, S4 coaches are empty and the rest are partially full, now when the train will turn with such imbalanced distribution of weight, some coaches will face maximum while others face minimum centrifugal force.
As a result of varying weights of each coach pose a grave threat of derailment, and while applying brakes, the forces will be different for each coach, which will end up creating a disruption in the train’s stability.
Apart from maintaining balance, there also is profiling an important factor that the IRCTC algorithm uses while allocating the seats.
Seat Allotment Rules
For Single Female
The Indian Railways has strict policies to allocate a seat to a female passenger. And, the most important rule is that a female passenger never allotted a seat in the group of men, and also, the two opposite genders with the same age group will never be assigned in the same compartment.
Female passengers in most of the scenarios are given lower or upper berths. However, they will get any berth on the train if they travel in a group ticket or with family members.
For Single Females (above 45 years old)
Indian Railways prefers women's safety first in the ticket reservation. 2 lower berths are allotted for women in each sleeper and those who are above 45 female persons are to be allotted almost lower berths only. There can be two different scenarios:
Case 1. If a female passenger who is above 45 years, old booking a ticket and prefers a lower berth, she has an 80% of the chances to get the lower berth.
Case 2: If two female passengers’ waiting tickets are confirmed and have only one lower berth on the train, then the Rules Engine will compare their age and allocates a lower berth to the elder one.
Now you know, it was IRCTC’s algorithm that helped the aunties gossip on the lower berth.For Young Couples
The Indian Railways always prefer to assign the same coach for couples. If there is no availability in the same coach, then it tries to at least allot the seats in the nearby coaches.
For Old Couples
If the couple is senior citizens (or) Above 45 years old, the system will check for two opposite lower berths. If it is failed to allot lower berths, then it will check for the below combinations– Lower-middle (or) Side lower-lower (or) middle-middle.
It is clear that all passengers in a group will get the seats allotted in the same compartment or the same coach at least. However, sometimes it depends on the size of the group. For example, if the size of the group is more than four(4), then their first priority will be the same compartment. It is very rare that a group will get seats in different coaches.
For Children and minors
There are no strict rules for children/minors, but they get their Berth always with parents or relatives only. They also get a berth surrounded by female passengers.
For Single Males (21 years+)
There are two major cases in which the algorithm decides what seats to be allotted to you.
Case 1: If you’re booking your ticket for an upper berth in the sleeper coach, then as per your age and gender, if there is any upper berth availability, it will be allotted to you. Otherwise, it checks for a middle berth, and side-upper in the same order.
Case 2: If you’re booking your ticket for a lower berth in the sleeper coach, then the System will check if there is any berth around with old-aged people. If yes you will get a lower berth. Otherwise, it starts from a standard order like Upper, Middle, Side Upper, Side Lower, and Lower berths.
So, IRCTC majorly prevents passengers to select their seats in order to avoid any danger of derailment, and the other reason is to serve every passenger in an even manner. If you are planning a vacation, you can book confirmed train tickets on Trainman. Download the app and make your journeys affordable with us.