Tatkal tickets on shorter train routes have become exorbitant. Here’s why

Indian Railways does not want passengers to Tatkal travel over short distances. Railways has therefore altered its definition of short-distance travel to charge an even higher premium from passengers. Many were in for a shock when trying to book Tatkal tickets for train journeys shorter than 500 kilometres when they found that the base fare inexplicably shot up, in addition to the already hefty Tatkal charges.

For example an AC 3-tier ticket on the 12156 Bhopal Express from Hazrat Nizamuddin to Gwalior costs Rs 590 of which Rs 484 is the base fare. But if we were to book the same under Tatkal, the ticket price shoots up to Rs 1065 because of the Rs 250 Tatkal charge and the base fare rising to Rs 692. Which means a passenger has to pay an additional 80.5% fare. Become an authorized IRCTC agency


This  made it appear to some that it could have something to do with the revamped IRCTC website and even lead to complaints against the IRCTC on consumer forum websites, but as it turns out this isn’t the case.  This surge in short-distance Tatkal reservation prices is because the Railways has amended its Tatkal rules, but hasn’t even bothered to inform the people it impacts the most – the passengers. We couldn’t find any mention of it on the IRCTC website or even the official Indian Railways website at the time of posting this and also our email to the Indian Railways public relations officer hasn’t received a response even after four days.

The answer finally appeared in an Unstarred Question asked in the Rajya Sabha on July 11. KN Balagopal, a CPI(M) MP from Kerala, asked the Minister of Railways about the new distance limit (up from the previous 200km) on issuing a Tatkal ticket and also pointed out that “this decision causes difficulties and financial loss to short distance travellers, especially travelling within small States like Kerala.” In his response, Manoj Sinha, Minister of State for Railways, said that the new Tatkal rules were meant to “discourage short distance travel under the Tatkal scheme,” and also provided details on the minimum distance for booking tickets under the Tatkal scheme. The minister also said that “no change in policy is contemplated at present.” Become an IRCTC authorized agency 


Revised minimum distances under Tatkal scheme

Second Sitting: 100km

AC Chair Car, Executive Class: 250km

Sleeper, 3AC Economy Class, AC 3-Tier, AC 2-Tier: 500km

The new rules don’t mean that passengers are prohibited from travelling over short distances on Tatkal tickets, but the price they need to pay for this has now become prohibitive.  For short distance Tatkal travel, passengers will be charged for the prescribed minimum distances irrespective of the actual distance travelled. Therefore a passengers travelling on AC 3-tier Tatkal tickets from Hazrat Nizamuddin (New Delhi) to Agra Cantonment (188km) or to Gwalior (306km) or Jhansi (403km), all have to pay the same minimum fare Rs 1065.


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