A record 13.45 lakh rail tickets were booked online on the first day on Wednesday when the new rule of the railways came into force, allowing passengers to book tickets 120 days in advance rather than 60 days.
Railways have extended the advance reservation period to 120 days to deal with the malaise of touts cornering bulk tickets.
“The decision for increase of advance reservation period from two months to four months was taken to prevent touts to corner bulk tickets,” said a senior Railway Ministry official.
“The four-month window helps passengers to plan their vacations well in advance,” he added.
A total 13,45,496 rail tickets including 1,25,790 Tatkal were booked online through IRCTC website for total 32,16,039 passengers on the first day of this month, the official said.
The booking of over 13 lakh tickets on a day is highest record so far as IRCTC ticketing site registers an average booking of 5 lakh tickets a day.
The total collection amount for online booking was Rs 2,50,6552,814 out of which IRCTC service charge would be Rs 43,033,947.
IRCTC levies a service charge of Rs 20 per e-ticket in case of sleeper class (SL) and second class sitting and Rs 40 per e-ticket in case of all AC classes irrespective of the number of passengers on an e-ticket.
Earlier, the service charge was Rs 10 for Sleeper and Rs 20 for AC class which was doubled from the April 1.
There were total cancellation of 1,74,871 bookings on Wednesday and total cancelled amount was Rs 22,29,52,969.
Railways have banned the travel agents from booking online Tatkal tickets from 8 AM to 12 noon.
Tatkal bookings were 2,89,176 between 8 AM and 9 AM and 1,86,519 between 10 AM and 11 AM.
The 120-day advance booking rule will, however, not be applicable in case of certain day time express trains like Taj Express, Gomti Express and special trains. These trains will continue to have a 30-day advance booking window.
Railway Ministry has also recently put some curbs on the number of online bookings made during peak hours.
Now, only one train ticket can be booked online with one log-in after which the booking session will expire during the peak hours.
“This is also being done to check the menace of touts. There will be a restriction of only one booking in one user log-in session in E-ticketing and forced logging out of the user before another booking for all users including IRCTC agents,” said the official.
However, this restriction will not be applicable while booking onward journey/return journey e-tickets.