Government hikes tatkal booking charges by 33%
The government announced a 33% hike on the booking charges for railway's tatkal tickets. The Indian Railways has raised the tatkal booking prices for travel in "sleeper class, AC-III tier, AC-II tier and executive class", the second class remained unaffected. The hike will come into effect from 25 December. The announcement came immediately after the conclusion of Parliament's winter session.
What are the tatkal tickets?
Tatkal tickets are the ones whose booking starts "one day in advance (reduced from 2 days) excluding the day of journey e.g. for a journey on 3rd, bookings open at 10 a.m on 2nd. However, the day of journey is defined as the day of chart preparation."
Railways dole out the 'Premium Tatkal'
On 1 October 2014, Indian Railways introduced a new booking system called the Premium Tatkal. Under this provision "half of the tickets" on certain trains will be 'dynamically priced.' However, these tickets could only be purchased online and were introduced for some 80 trains to begin with. The rules of procurement were the same as for general tatkal tickets.
Parliamentary panel reprimands Railways dynamic pricing
A parliamentary panel came down heavily on the Railways for introducing dynamic prices and recommended decreasing the premium on tatkal tickets to a "minimum essential level" as the present system was "legitimising inequality". The committee asked the Railway Ministry to "institutionalise the concerns of the poor". The panel suggested that tatkal reservation percentage should be reduced so more people could get access.
Railways introduces revised tatkal timing and 50% refund
Railways announced a change in the timing for the booking of Tatkal tickets and declared that travellers can get a refund of 50% on cancellation. According to the new schedule, the Tatkal booking for AC classes will start at 10 a.m. and close at 11 a.m. Railways also announced plans to launch its 'Tatkal Special' train service which will be costlier than general trains.
Out with the old, in with the hiked
After the new hike, the minimum tatkal charges for sleeper class were raised to Rs.100 and the maximum to Rs.200. The AC compartments were worse hit, with the minimum charge rising from Rs.250 to Rs.300 while the maximum charges going up to Rs.400. Those travelling executive will now have to shell out Rs.400 instead of Rs.300 as the minimum and Rs.500 as maximum cost.