In a bid to shore up its revenues, the Indian Railways has decided to sell 50 per cent of tatkal tickets through the system of dynamic pricing. This means that while the first half of the total number of tatkal tickets will be sold at existing tatkal rates, which are up to 30 per cent higher than normal fare, the second half will be sold at progressively higher prices.
The new scheme will be implemented on the most popular trains, tatkal tickets for which face huge demand across the country. Each of the 16 zonal railways has been asked to identify five most popular trains and implement the scheme.
According to the system, after 50 per cent of the tatkal tickets are sold, rates would go up after every 10 per cent. The system, which was rolled out on October 1, will be fully implemented within a week.
Facing questions about the need for such a move, especially when diesel prices are stable in the country, the Railways claimed that it was necessary to ward off the menace of touts.
Officials in the Railways Ministry believe that touts hoard tatkal tickets illegally and charge hefty premium on them from needy passengers. This signifies that passengers are willing to pay a higher price for confirmed tickets, so the ministry decided to charge that premium itself.
“As per our internal assessment, touts were hoarding tatkal tickets and were selling them at much higher prices to needy passengers. This move is to provide relief to genuine passengers so they don’t fall prey to unlawful elements,” said a Railways spokesperson.
Currently, tatkal charges are 10 per cent of basic fare for second class and 30 per cent of basic fare for all other classes.