As of now, there is a mismatch between accommodation in reserved trains – While some trains are running with additional passengers, there are some trains which are running empty. And the irony is that, in most of the cases, both of these trains are running in the same direction.
To avoid such situation, Indian Railway has announced a new scheme called ‘Vikalp’ (Option), which can prove to be beneficial for all wait-listed passengers. And, at the same time, it can optimally utilise railways’ resources as well.
Here are 8 facts about Vikalp scheme which every train traveller should be aware of:
Assume you have a wait-listed ticket for a train called Lucknow Mail which goes from New Delhi to Lucknow, every day at 10 PM. The Chart has been prepared, and your ticket shows wait-listed # 32. Under Vikalp scheme, your ticket can be allocated to the next available train, which is going towards Lucknow from Delhi, and leaves after 10 PM.
Hence, without paying anything extra, your ticket can be upgraded or moved to another class under Vikalp. Assuming that you have a Sleeper class ticket for Lucknow Mail, which is wait-listed. Under Vikalp, your ticket can be upgraded to AC Superfast Express which leaves at 11.30 PM for Lucknow. You are not required to pay anything additional for the upgrade.
Hence, theoretically speaking, any ticket which is waitlisted can now be used to travel in premium trains like Shatabdi or Rajdhani, without any extra cost.
Vikalp Scheme is only for those tickets which have been booked via IRCTC website. As soon as the chart is prepared, and if your ticket is wait-listed, you will get an SMS, informing about activation of Vikalp option, and your new train, coach and berth numbers would be shared.
You have the option to either choose Vikalp option, and travel in another train, or cancel the existing ticket. In case of cancellation, the normal rules apply for wait-listed trains.
Once you opt for the Vikalp option, you can always upgrade to another higher class in the new train, by paying the difference of cost. For example, you had a AC 3 ticket, but under Vikalp, you got a sleeper class berth in a new train. Now, once you say yes to Vikalp, you can always upgrade to AC 3 in the new train by paying the difference of amount (in case berths are available). But the default allocation of ticket in a new train under Vikalp shall be free of cost, and included in the cost of the original ticket.
Now, after you say yes to Vikalp, and then you decide to cancel, then the cancellation shall be treated for a confirmed berth on the new train, not on the basis of wait-listed ticket on the old train.
Only those passengers whose tickets are wait-listed even after preparation of chart would be eligible for Vikalp option. And, once you have said yes to Vikalp, you cannot board the original train, for which your ticket was issued in waiting list.
Pan-India roll out of Vikalp shall start from April 1st. However, Indian Railways had been running the scheme on a pilot basis on few routes such as Delhi-Lucknow, Delhi-Jammu and Delhi-Mumbai, since November 1st.
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