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This technique is being used by Indian Railways to assign 7,000 unconfirmed berths to travellers.

To assign passengers to unconfirmed berths via a centrally connected server, Indian Railways has adopted new HHTs devices. 

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It is challenging and time-consuming to secure a reserved seat on a train. However, the new hand-held terminals (HHTs) for the trains are assisting customers in obtaining verified tickets. The HHT devices are made for computerised berth allotment, and they often give seats to more than 7,000 people with unconfirmed tickets each day. This number was obtained after four months’ worth of data were analysed. These HHTs, which are about the size of an iPad, are equipped with reservation charts and passenger data. Staff can therefore check and assign the berth while having access to real-time seat availability.

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The vacant berth is thus displayed on the HHT device if a passenger with a reserved ticket does not show up or abruptly cancels their trip, allowing the train ticket examiner (TTE) to assign it to a waitlist passenger or a travel booking against cancellation (RAC) passenger already on board.

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An official stated that travellers with RAC or wait-list reservations can inquire in real-time with a TTE holding an HHT about the availability of empty berths, noting that this increases transparency in the distribution of berths on operating trains.

Approximately 10,745 HHTs are being transported daily on TTEs of about 1,390 trains, according to data accessed by PTI, as part of the experiment, which was initiated about four months ago.

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It revealed that during the past four months, 5,448 RAC passengers and 2,759 wait-listed passengers received daily allocations of clear beds on the run through the HHTs.

According to the data, in addition to berths being assigned to RAC or wait-listed passengers, almost 7,000 unused unoccupied berths are also given to the PRS through the HHTs so they can be reserved from the following stations along the route of the trains.

It was announced that all long-distance trains, including those that ran weekly or biweekly, would be equipped with these HHT devices over the next three or four months.

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Passengers’ overdue fares, penalties, and other fees can be collected by electronic means via the HHTs. They further stated that in the future, they would be utilised to issue receipts for the same.

Officials have promised that once the HHT system is in place, priority passengers on the RAC or waitlist will not be overlooked for available seats on trains.

Passengers who did not board the train might sometimes be offered their seats to people who had arrived later in the manual booking chart.

The computerised system will now monitor the availability of empty berths and the allocation of tickets to passengers on the wait list online in real-time, removing any room for human error.

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