When the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) was launched in 2002, only 29 online tickets were booked on the first day. Today, more than 13 lakh online tickets are booked through IRCTC portal – www.irctc.co.in – the e-ticketing outlet of the national carrier.
With the growing volume of online ticket booking, however, has also grown malpractices in the system. The Indian Railways has issued fresh guidelines to deal with various problems it has been facing with an aim to provide better services to travelers. About 2 crore people travel by Indian Railways every day.
A traveler is allowed to book tickets in advance up to 120 days through the IRCTC portal. The date of journey (for the originating station of the train) will not be counted in 120-day limitation. Minister of State of Railways Rajen Gohain made this announcement recently in the Lok Sabha in a written reply.
These steps are being taken to strengthen the online ticket reservation system and the tatkal scheme of the Indian Railways, the minister said. The Railways recently also tweaked some rules for tatkal ticket booking system to avoid misuse of the facility.
Here is a look at the modified rules of online ticket reservation for Indian Railways.
1. Six tickets can be booked in a month from a single user ID. If the user is Aadhaar verified, he/she can book 12 tickets in a month. One person can book only two tickets during the opening hours between 8am and 10 am.
2. Single page or quick book services are not available between 8 am and 12 noon. One user can have only one log-in session at a time. Captcha is available at login, passenger detail and payment web pages.
3. An additional level of security has been included in the modified rules. Now, a user is required to answer a security question after he/she has filled up his/her personal information – username, email, mobile number, checkbox etc.
4. Agents are allowed to book tickets between 8 am to 8.30 am, 10 am to 10.30 am and 11 am to 11.30 am. Authorised travel agents cannot book tatkal tickets during the first 30 minutes after online reservation opens.
5. Online ticket booking has been made time sensitive. The standard time to fill up passenger details is 25 seconds. The minimum input time for Captcha on passenger details page and payment page is 5 seconds.
6. Ten seconds are given for making the payment. One-time password (OTP) system has been made mandatory for payments through net banking for all banks and users.
7. Tatkal tickets can be booked a day before the travel. Online berth reservation starts at 10 am for air-conditioned (AC) coaches and at 11 am for sleeper bogies.
8. Complete refund of train fare and tatkal charges can be claimed only if the train fails to depart in three hours of its scheduled departure time.
9. A passenger can claim a full refund if the train’s route has been diverted and he/she doesn’t want to travel on that route.
10. A passenger can also claim a full refund if he/she has been shifted to a lower class than what the ticket was booked for provided he/she doesn’t want to travel in the changed class. But, if a passenger is willing to travel in the lower class, he/she will be paid back the difference