Passengers travelling up to 500 km have to pay a flat ‘Tatkal’ fare
Since the implementation of the Indian Railways’ new fare structure on June 25, passengers travelling up to 500 km have to pay a flat ‘Tatkal’ fare.This is applicable to all classes (sleeper class, third AC and second AC) up to a distance of 500 km.
However, there is no commercial circular on the Indian Railways Web site communicating that the minimum chargeable distance for Tatkal had now been fixed at 500 km.
The Indian Railways Web site clearly states that, “Tatkal tickets are issued for actual distance of travel, subject to the distance restriction applicable to the train.”
A senior Railway Board official on the condition of anonymity told this reporter that base fares for Tatkal have been amended and is the same for the first 500 km.
This has been done because the Tatkal scheme enjoys lesser patronage from short distance travellers, he said.
For shorter distances the maximum Tatkal charges as per the Tatkal circular on the IR Web site has also been violated (see table). The maximum Tatkal charges for sleeper class, third AC and second AC are ₹175, ₹350 and ₹400 respectively.
The worst hit passengers are those travelling trains which do not cover 500 km end-to-end. For instance Mumbai-Ahmedabad Gujarat Mail, Chennai-Trichy Rockfort Express, Delhi-Dehradun Mussourie Express and Howrah-Jamalpur express and many other trains, where the demand is high.
Now, all such passengers will have to cough up Tatkal fares for 500 km irrespective of the distance being significantly lower.