Good news for rail passengers as the government has extended the service charge waiver on online bookings till September. The government had waived off the service charges on railway tickets after demonetisation in November last year in a bid to encourage digital booking of tickets. The service charges on booking of railway tickets ranged from Rs 20 to Rs 40 per ticket. The government had initially withdrawn service charges from November 23, 2016, to March 31, 2017. The Centre had later extended the duration of the waiver by three months till June 30, according to PTI.
A senior Railway Ministry official told PTI that the service had been extended till the end of September. The government had decided to extend the service charge exemption in order to promote digital payments. Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC), the ticketing agency of the Indian Railways is expected to lose as much as Rs 500 crore a year due to the exemption. The railway ministry has written to the Ministry of Finance demanding a reimbursement for the loss, PTI reported.
Foreigners can also book train tickets from abroad 360 days in advance instead of the current 120 days, the government is likely to announce this program in the next few days. The step has been taken to attract more tourists. Tourists will only be allowed to book tickets in the first AC and second AC coaches of trains, PTI reported.
Foreigners will not be allowed to book tickets in Suvidha trains which are for people who book tickets at the last moment, PTI reported.