New Delhi: Starting next month, passengers may be able to travel in premier Rajdhani or Shatabdi trains even if they have booked tickets in the ordinary Mail or Express trains. On April 1, the Indian Railways is launching a new scheme under which passengers put on waiting lists can get confirmed berths in the next alternative train if they opt for the option while booking their tickets. Passengers will not be charged anything extra or provided any refund for the difference of fare, as per the scheme.
Named 'Vikalp' or alternative, the scheme aims to utilise vacant berths in many premier trains including Rajdhani, Shatabdi, Duronto and other special ones such as Suvidha trains in all major routes. Railways has to return about Rs. 7,500 crore a year as refunds to customers for cancellation of tickets for various reasons.
"We aim to achieve the twin objectives of providing confirmed accommodation to waitlisted passengers and ensure optimal utilisation of available accommodation by this scheme," a senior Railway Ministry official said.
After introduction of flexi-fare system in premier trains - which raises or drops prices of tickets based on demand - some berths have gone vacant while the demand for seats in Mail or Express trains have overshot supply.
"In any case these berths are running vacant. So whatever we can save in refund is going to be a neat save for us. No additional cost is involved to railways so anything we save, will be earnings for railways," the official added.
Currently, the railways is running the scheme in six routes including Delhi-Lucknow, Delhi-Jammu and Delhi-Mumbai sectors since November 1, as a trial. The system is available for online ticketing now but it will be extended to over the counter sale as well.
Firstpost is now on WhatsApp. For the latest analysis, commentary and news updates, sign up for our WhatsApp services. Just go to Firstpost.com/Whatsapp and hit the Subscribe button.
Updated Date: Mar 22, 2017 08:12:24 IST