Friday, May 24, 2013

Railways to cancel tickets booked by agents between 8-12

Tired of getting cornered by railway agents who buy bulk last-minute tickets only to sell them at a higher price? Well, here’s some relief.

According to a report in the Economic Times, general or ‘tatkal’ tickets booked by agents between 8 am and 12 noon will no longer be accepted and will be cancelled by the railways.

The report notes that agents are not allowed to book tickets through Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) website between this duration. Thus the time slot is strictly reserved for passengers only.

And if you are found tavelling with such agent-booked tickets, both you and the agent will be penalised under the Railway Act.

Earlier, to check the lacunae, railways had announced a revised scheme under which passengers could book Tatkal tickets from 10 am instead of 8 am. The revised scheme had come in the backdrop of increased number of complaints from train passengers about the misuse of the scheme and involvement of touts in cornering bulk of tickets to sell them at a premium.

The booking of Tatkal tickets under the revamped scheme will begin on 10 July and zonal railways have been instructed to make adequate arrangement at reservation counters accordingly.

Measures such as installation of CCTVs in major booking centres, barring booking clerks to carry mobile phones inside counters, display of helpline numbers for complaints, raids by the vigilance squads to prevent misuse of Tatkal facility have also been taken.

Railways has reduced advance booking period from four months to two months from 1 May as part of its efforts to prevent touts from cornering bulk of tickets. The advance reservation period (ARP) for booking reserved train tickets has been reduced from existing 120 days to 60 days (excluding the date of journey). Also, advance reservation period of Tatkal scheme has been reduced from two days, excluding the day of journey, to one day.

Railways have also initiated steps to augment e-ticket handling capacity of its website through short-term and long- term measures.

The present e-ticket capacity is being increased from existing a3.5 lakh bookings to  5 lakh bookings per day in about four months, which will further be increased to about 8 lakh bookings per day in the long term.

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