VELLORE: The Southern Railway has introduced online booking of tickets at concessional fares for the differently-abled, almost two years after the Indian Railways announced the same.
As per the revised rules introduced last month, a differently-abled person and his/her companion can book tickets through the IRCTC portal using the disabled ID card number issued by the Southern Railway.
“In all, four lower berths in sleeper class are earmarked under the disabled quota in every train. If the four berths are availed of, passengers usually have to go to the counters to avail of the concession. Concession for AC class tickets were also provided only at counters till date,” said a senior official with the Southern Railway.
On the steps to be followed while booking tickets through the IRCTC portal, the official sources said the passengers have to tick the physically handicap option in the main page before choosing the train. “By providing the ID card number and other relevant details in the next page, the differently-abled and his/her escort can avail of the railway concessions,” the official sources said.
The differently-abled are eligible for 75 per cent concession on train ticket fares in sleeper, first class chair car and AC three tier. The concession rate will be 50 per cent in 2A and 1A. The orally and aurally challenged can avail of concessions of 50 per cent on the ticket fare in all classes.
Welcoming the move, Tamil Nadu Association for the Rights of All Types of Differently Abled and Caregivers state general secretary S Namburajan said the new provision would provide relief to the passengers who do not have booking counters near their place of stay. However, the lack of publicity has led to the under-utilisation of the facility.
When Express cross-checked the ticket availability under the disabled quota in the IRCTC portal for the next seven days, it was found that no booking was made for the trains originating in Chennai Central, Chennai Egmore, Madurai, Tiruchy and Coimbatore.
According to 2011 census, Tamil Nadu has 16 lakh differently-abled people.