Chennai: Passengers give green signal to staggered tatkal bookings

Bookings for AC class will start at 10 am

Chennai: Several railway passengers have welcomed the move to stagger Tatkal ticket bookings for AC and non-AC class travel. To facilitate a hassle-free booking by reducing the load on railway servers, tatkal tickets have been segregated into AC class bookings and non-AC bookings spread over different time slots. While bookings for AC class will start at 10 am, reservations for non-AC classes will commence an hour later.

A senior railway official in a Passenger Reservation System (PRS), on condition of anonymity, told DC the railway board had decided on the change to give priority to higher fare paying passengers. “AC passengers pay more and getting a confirmed ticket should be made easy for them. Hence, the segregation. With a majority of counters handling tatkal reservations at different times, chances of a passenger who is 20th in a queue to get a confirmed ticket is increased. It is a welcome move,” he said.

For K. Prabhakaran, who managed to book a confirmed ticket in third AC to Coimbatore by Cheran Express, hailed the board’s decision. “ Earlier, I used to stand in the queue at 7 am and see around 50 people ahead of me waiting to book tickets for all classes. But with this new system, I can even come in the queue by 9am, stand 10th or 15th in the line and with multiple counters, I can get my booking done in less than five minutes,” he said.

For Ebrahim, who is a regular business traveler in the Chennai-Ernakulam section, the separation increases the option of getting a confirmed ticket over different classes. “Trains from Chennai to Kerala are always full for most part of the year. Earlier, the quota in a sleeper class got exhausted simultaneously with AC classes. But from today, if I get a wait listed ticket in an AC class, I will have time to get a confirmed ticket on sleeper class.”

However, on the flip side, a cross-section of passengers felt the move was to lure more people to book in AC classes to generate more revenue. “Tatkal booking in itself is a last minute option for people who need to travel at any cost. So, when a booking opens at 10am, I would want to grab the first available set of tickets so that I am not left in the lurch later. This is only a money making idea for the railways,” said Bharath Krishnan, an IT engineer, who travels between Chennai and Bengaluru almost thrice a month.

( Source : deccan chronicle )
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