Railway passengers with waitlist tickets will no longer be allowed to travel in the reserved compartments as this leads to inconvenience to passengers with confirmed tickets and overcrowding of compartments,said railway officials.
Given the high demand for tickets and their limited availability,the decision is likely to invite ire of travelers as the bookings are often full within a few days of opening. Many passengers are left with no option but to book waitlist tickets.
Until now,unconfirmed e-tickets were considered invalid,while passengers with waitlist tickets were allowed to travel in reserved compartments.
Railway officials said though the rule has been in place for long,it was not implemented strictly by the administration.The passengers with unconfirmed tickets should travel in general compartments and refrain from entering reserved compartments,they added.
Some passengers are of the view that this rule will only benefit the ticket examiners who will get a chance to extort money from passengers seeking permission to sit in reserved compartments.
In emergency,people have to travel even if they dont get confirmed tickets. This will result in passengers paying bribes to ticket checkers to get into reserved coaches, said Rahul Gaikar,who works with a farms input firm.
According to officials,the rationale behind implementing the rule is to avoid inconvenience to passengers who have confirmed tickets.
If five passengers sit on a birth meant for three,this causes inconvenience to passengers who have the right to comfortable travel by virtue of a confirmed ticket. These passengers book tickets one-two months prior to the journey. They cant be forced to travel in a overcrowded compartments, said an official.
Many passengers say this will raise another issue of refunding money for unconfirmed tickets.
If you book a ticket online and its not confirmed,the amount is automatically paid back to the consumer by the IRCTC. However,if a person buys a waitlist ticket from a counter and just two hours before the journey when the passenger list is displayed he gets to know his ticket has not been confirmed,he will have to pay cancellation penalty, said Mahesh Kokare,a student.
As per the new refund rules which came into force from July 1,there would be no refund on reserved tickets if they are surrendered for cancellation within two hours before the departure of train. If the ticket is presented for cancellation more than 48 hours in advance to the scheduled departure of the train,minimum cancellation charge shall be deducted at the flat rate of Rs120 for AC First class/Executive class,Rs100 for AC II tier/First class,Rs 90 for AC III tier/ III AC Economy/AC chair car,Rs 60 for Sleeper class and Rs 30 for Second class,per passenger.
Welcoming the decision,Harsha Shah of Railway Pravasi Group said it is a positive development as the passengers had been complaining for years about the trouble they had to face because of intruders.
This will check the illegal selling of 1,000-1,500 waitlist tickets even though the authorities know that such huge waitlist cannot be cleared. As per the guidelines,if a passenger without a confirmed ticket is found travelling in a reserved coach he will not only be penalised but also be asked to deboard the train at the next station, said Shah.