Booking train tickets via portals like MakeMyTrip, Yatra, Paytm and Cleartrip? Soon you may have to pay more! The e-ticketing arm of Indian Railways, Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) is all set to charge a fee of Rs 12 plus taxes on every ticket booked from service providers such as MakeMyTrip, Yatra, Paytm and Cleartrip, according to a TOI report. Earlier, a flat annual maintenance fee used to be charged by IRCTC. It seems that IRCTC has introduced the new fee structure with the objective of opening a new revenue stream ahead of its proposed initial public offering (IPO), the report stated.
However, the service providers are unhappy with this move by IRCTC. According to one of the service providers quoted in the report, ticket booking for Indian Railways is revenue-negative or, at best, revenue-neutral. The service provider pointed out that the expenditure on fees paid to the payment gateway is more than the fee charged to the customer. Therefore, if this fee is not passed on to the customer, railway ticket booking will become revenue-negative, the service provider added.
The service providers are of the view that hiking the fee on ticket booking is not an option as this would then make them uncompetitive with regards to IRCTC’s own booking site. Also, the contract by IRCTC mentions a ‘look to book’ ratio of 1:70, as per which there should be at least one ticket booking for seventy enquiries. With service providers offering customers facilities such as PNR status search as well as other inquiry facilities if the rail bookings fail to keep up with the ‘look to book’ ratio of 1:70 then they will have to pay 25 paise for every enquiry to IRCTC.
According to IRCTC, in addition to the annual maintenance charges, Rs 5 will be charged for display of advertisements and Rs 15 will be charged for cashback offers or for clubbing ticket sales with products and services of third-party. Also, there will be an additional charge of Rs 25 per ticket in case of cross-selling of any third-party products.