Indian Railways has made sweeping changes to reservation and booking of tatkal tickets to ease pressure during peak hours and to give travellers a better experience than the current one where they are harried.
1. Indian Railways has decided to stagger booking of tatkal tickets by allowing reservations in AC class from 10 am to 11 am and non-AC class from 11 am.
2. The new Indian Railways tatkal ticket booking for reservations schedule will come into effect in the next couple of days (Thursday or Friday).
3. Indian Railways is also mulling whether to give refund on cancellation of tatkal tickets, the percentage of which would be calculated based on a time frames. Indian Railways official said plans are afoot to refund a percentage of fare on cancellation of tatkal tickets, which is hitherto unavailable – if a passenger refunds within the time frame, he will be refunded accordingly.
4. Indian Railways says refunds will be available on cancellations of tatkal tickets of premier trains and such refunds would go “up to 50 per cent”. At present, no such facility is available, making such services unpopular among a segment of the customers.
5. Indian Railways has decided to rechristen premium trains as “Suvidha” trains with an overhaul in the ticket price structure, cancellations and bookings.
6. Indian Railways said the steps taken over tatkal ticket booking and other changes will ensure “fast service while booking online and reducing passenger rush at the counters.
7. Indian Railways official said IRCTC (irctc.co.in) website had recently registered three crore hits in a day, slowing the server in the process.
8. Indian Railways says all schemes and changes are subject to implementation within rigid time frames.
9. Indian Railways said premium trains would undergo a transformation so as to benefit more passengers and would be called “Suvidha”. Keeping in mind the fact that the dynamic fare mechanism makes travel expensive for some passengers in such trains, Shukla said, the fare structure would be revised. At present, there has been instances when passengers booking in AC 3-tier had to pay more than a fellow passenger travelling in AC 2-tier. Besides, under the mechanism ticket fare used to shoot up by three times in a single day. Indian Railways says it intends to put an end to all such anomalies.
10. Indian Railways plans to launch ‘Tatkal Special’ train service soon. These would be run on particular routes to handle the passenger rush, he added.