VELLORE: Going for a Cheran or Nellai Express ticket at the last minute? You will have to pay a lot more, as the Southern Railway has silently brought them and 13 other trains under the premium tatkal ticket ambit.
On Sunday, thousands of people from Coimbatore, Tiruppur, Madurai, Tirunelveli, Thoothukudi and Kanniyakumari who booked tatkal tickets for travelling to Chennai on Monday were forced to pay the extra fare as 50 per cent tatkal tickets came under premium tatkal quota.
Southern Railway extended premium tatkal quota to Cheran Express (Chennai-Coimbatore), Niligiri Express (Chennai-Mettupalayam), Chennai Express (Alleppey-Chennai), Kanniyakumari Express (Kanniyakumari-Chennai), Nellai Express (Tirunelveli- Chennai Egmore), Pearl City Express (Egmore-Thoothukudi) and Chennai Express (Hyd-Chennai Central).
It was also extended to Thirukkural SF Express (Hazrat Nizamuddin-Kanniyakumari, Bajali Express (Mumbai CST-Nagercoil), Dehradun-Madurai Super Fast Express, Gurudev Express (Nagercoil-Kolkata Shalimar), Howrah-Tiruchirapalli Express, New Jalpaiguri-Chennai SF Express, Howrah-Kanniyakumari Superfast Express, Kongu Superfast Express (Hazrat Nizamuddin- Coimbatore), Ernakulam-Patna SF Express (PT) and Bhagat Ki Kothi-Mannargudi Weekly Express.
According to railway sources, 30 percent of train tickets in sleeper, 3AC and 2AC coaches are reserved under tatkal quota. While 50 percent of tatkal tickets (15 percent of train tickets) are sold at normal tatkal rates, the rest 50 per cent ticket would be charged on a dynamic pricing basis, tying them to demand.
While the tickets under tatkal are higher by between `100 to `175 for sleeper class and from `200 to `400 for AC coaches, price of tickets under premium tatkal will increase by 20 per cent after every 10 per cent of berths are sold subject to the existing cap (maximum) on dynamic fare.
Senior officials said the move would ensure that at least 15% tickets are available for eleventh-hour passengers. “Even if premium tatkal tickets go unsold, they will get adjusted to takal waiting list. So the railways will not incur losses.”
P Edward Jeni, general secretary of Kanniyakumari District Railway Users’ Association, said it would affect 1,000 passengers a day, who travel between Chennai and the southern districts. “Since it takes 13 hours to reach Kanniyakumari and Nagercoil by bus, elderly and patients prefer to travel by train. Since there are hardly one or two trains to Kanniyakumari, Thoothukudi, Nagercoil and Sengottai, it will reduce the chances of getting tatkal tickets.”
Normal tickets: Can be booked any time
Tatkal: 10 am for AC classes, 11 am for sleeper classes (IRCTC, PRS and Rail Connect app)
Premium Tatkal: 8 am through IRCTC and PRS counters
For desperate travellers: Instead of waiting till 11 am for Tatkal booking (sleeper class), log on IRCTC portal or Rail Connect app and book a premium Tatkal ticket at 8 am. For an additional fare of about K70-120, you can get confirmed tickets
Normal tickets: Base fare+ reservation charges +SF charge
Tatkal: Normal fare+ J100-175 (sleeper class) and J200 to J400 for AC
Premium Tatkal: Base fare+ 20% of base fare for every 10% of tickets