Booking ‘Premium Tatkal’? Take care to read the second page!

AM JIGEESH MAMUNI DAS New Delhi | Updated on January 24, 2018


Railways says the system flashes alerts

Next time you book online rail tickets in the ‘Premium Tatkal’ segment, take a closer look at the final price before your final click. For, you could end up paying between 2.5-3 times the base fare, particularly if you are among the last ones to book for peak-time travel.

Also, you may end up inching closer to the amount charged by the dynamic pricing of airlines, which take much less time than a train!

Student’s experience

A discerning student learnt this the hard way when he booked a return ticket to Thrissur in Kerala from Delhi, where he had come to take an exam. In a hurry to get a confirmed ticket, he opted for ‘Premium Tatkal’ between New Delhi and Thrissur, while taking into account the ₹3,700-odd fare as the base price.

“I saw the price of about ₹3,500 for a ‘Premium Tatkal’ ticket. I did not see any message that it could cost around ₹10,000. I wouldn’t have booked if it had been so high. I had added an option of quick pay of the State Bank of India. So, when I booked the ticket and proceeded to the payment gateway, there was no message indicating the real price shown in the IRCTC website,” the student told BusinessLine.

However, according to the booking process shared by IRCTC, the student seemed to have missed a few notes that flash a message in red letters stating – “dynamic pricing is available in Premium Tatkal quota. Fares may increase at the time of booking.”

The student appears to have confused the train fare, as reflected in the first page, which shows the normal fare, with an option to select a quota of general, premium tatkal, physically handicap, ladies and tatkal, said a railway official.

Railways’ response

In fact, the Railways reflect the prevailing dynamic pricing only after a passenger selects ‘Premium Tatkal’ and fills up particulars.

This is unlike airline bookings, where the premium pricing is available upfront.

The student also appears to have missed the higher amount in payment gateway mechanism, which usually re-confirms an amount before deduction.

That said, on June 18, as a test case, the premium fare for second AC in Kerala Express from New Delhi to Thrissur was available for about ₹7,400, just ₹1,200 less than the airfare.

Incidentally, premium trains with dynamic pricing mechanism have evoked a mixed response earlier as well.

A Parliamentary Accounts Committee had raised questions on the poor not getting served through such trains due to the premium, whereas a demand for grants for the Railways committee recently pointed out that such trains are not making enough money.

Published on June 21, 2015

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