Indian Railways: E-tickets to get costlier as service charge restored
In what might come as a disappointment to passengers, e-tickets booked through Indian Railways Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) are set to get costlier, starting from today, ie. September 1. It's because the Railway Ministry has decided to bring back service charges on e-tickets. Earlier, the service charges were withdrawn to promote digital payments in Railways sector. Here's more on this.
Service-charges: Rs. 15/ticket for non-AC classes; Rs. 30/ticket for AC-classes
Now, IRCTC will levy Rs. 15 per ticket service charge for non-AC classes, and Rs. 30 for AC classes, including first class. In a letter dated August 30, Railways Board said the IRCTC made a "detailed case" for restoration of service charges and that the matter had been examined by the "competent authority". Notably, Goods and Services Tax (GST) shall be applied separately.
Service charge waiver was temporary; IRCTC suffered financial loss
Further, the Finance Ministry contended that the service charge waiver was a temporary move, and now the Indian Railways was free to restart it, the letter stated. The waiver naturally turned out to be a financial burden for the Indian Railways. IRCTC witnessed a drop of over 26% in its Internet ticketing revenue, after the charges were scrapped.
Earlier, service charges were withdrawn to promote digital payments
To recall, service charges on e-ticket bookings were withdrawn by the national transporter, in a bid to promote digital payments in travel sector, and thereby to facilitate the Digital India drive by PM Narendra Modi-led Central government. Before the said scrapping, IRCTC used to levy a service charge of Rs. 20 on e-ticket bookings for non-AC classes, and Rs. 40 for AC classes.
However, Railways to provide up to 25% booking discount
Although the decision would cause inconvenience to Railway passengers, they might find relief in the Railways' new offer to provide up to 25% discount in trains like Shatabdi Express, Tejas, Gatiman and Vande Bharat Express, in order to boost its sales and revenue.