New Delhi, August 8: For booking an e-ticket in the Indian Railways, travellers will now have to spend more money as the Ministry of Railways is set to re-introduce service charge on online reservations through IRCTC app. Service charge on online ticket booking was earlier withdrawn by the Indian Railways in a bid to promote digital transactions. The money collected through service charge was used by the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) to fund its e-ticketing system.
The Indian Railways collected service charge on e-tickets till November 2016 when demonetisation was announced. It decided to discontinue service charge after the Ministry of Finance had promised that the department’s operation costs will be reimbursed. Last month, however, the Finance Ministry told the Indian Railways that the reimbursement of operation costs for e-ticketing to IRCTC was a "temporary arrangement in special context for a limited period of time". Indian Railways Mulling Increase in Mumbai Local Train Speed to 110 Kmph, More Services for Commuters.
The Railways' revenue was affected when the service charge was revoked on online reservations. IRCTC was to be reimbursed around Rs 88 crore by the Finance Ministry but even this wasn’t sufficient, sources told Mumbai Mirror. Therefore, the Railways decided to levy the service charge once again. A letter has been written in this regard by BS Kiran, who is joint director traffic commercial (general) of the Railway Board. It says the Railways will restore the service charge and decide the quantum to be levied. First Passenger Train in India ran 165 Years ago.
"It’s totally against the interest of passengers. Railways should bear the service charge as online booking reduced their expenses," Subhash Gupta, member of Zonal Railway Users’ Consultative Council, Central Railways, was quoted as saying. Earlier, service charge for sleeper class was Rs 20 and Rs 40 for AC compartment seats.