E-ticket cancellations fetch railways Rs 750 crore

An integral part of a family holiday or business trip is proper planning, and most Indian travellers usually book their train tickets weeks, if not months, in advance. But the best laid plans can go awry and often do. The Indian Railways understands this principle well-it is what has, after all, enriched the government organization substantially over the years.

Between 2005 and 2011, the Railways earned a neat Rs 750 crore (almost equivalent to its annual profit) on account of cancellations of e-tickets alone. (Its earnings from e-tickets from 2005 to April 2012 were Rs 30,094 crore.) RTI activist Manoranjan Roy, who procured this information, says that the railways must do away with cancellation charges. “Indian Railways now has several avenues for generating revenue,” he points out. “It must stop burdening the common man with cancellation charges.”

In 2011, between March and December, the railways earned Rs 198 crore from cancellation charges of e-tickets. Ever since it began in 2005, e-ticketing has ballooned to make up about 40% of all rail ticket sales. Railway officials say that the convenience that booking and cancelling an e-ticket offers has seen more passengers making advance bookings that very often result in cancellations. In fact, one out of every three e-tickets sold is cancelled.

If a confirmed ticket is cancelled more than 24 hours before the scheduled departure of the train, the penalty is Rs 70 for an AC first-class ticket, Rs 60 for AC Tier-2, AC Tier-3 and AC chair car, Rs 40 for sleeper class and Rs 20 for a second-class ticket. In fact, even if a wait-listed ticket is not confirmed, the Railways go on to deduct Rs 20 before refunding the remaining sum.

Popular trains have long waiting lists of 700 or 800. “Close to 95% of the wait-listed tickets do not get confirmed and automatically stand cancelled,” explains a rail officer. “Hence, what ordinarily happens is that most passengers book themselves on more than one train; others with flexible travel dates book tickets on different days if they are on the waiting list.”

Clearly, somebody’s attempts to stay on top of the chaotic train travel in India can be somebody else’s huge gain.

E-way to big bucks

Year ——– Tickets sold (lakh) —— Ticket sale income (Rs crore)——- Revenue from cancellation charges (Rs crore)

2005-06 —-25 ———- 317 ——- 2.85

2006-07 —-68 ———- 678 ——- 5.79

2007-08 —- 189 ——- 1,700 —— 15.61

2008-09 —- 440 —— 3883 ——– 99.42

2009-10 —- 719 —— 6011 ——– 190.63

2010-11 —- 969 —— 8007 ——– 235.37

2011-12 —-1,161 —– 9498 ——– 198.80*

(* Cancellation figures up to December 2011)

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/mumbai/E-ticket-cancellations-fetch-railways-Rs-750-crore/articleshow/13418793.cms

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