Railways scrap ‘unfair’ tatkal first rule for extra coaches

In what could bring relief to lakhs of long distance passengers who stand in serpentine queues and book their tickets almost four months in advance, the railways has scrapped a rule that gave preference to waitlisted tatkal tickets, bought just a day before the journey, when it came to providing reservations in extra coaches attached to a train.

The railways attach 2-3 extra coaches in almost all crowd-heavy trains during peak season to ensure more people get reserved seats. However, a rule in May 2012 stated that first preference should be given to clearing the waiting list in the tatkal quota and only then the normal passenger waiting list should be cleared.

“It was unfair on those who booked tickets in advance. With the large number of waiting lists in the tatkal system, it meant that all the extra coaches would be taken up by those who had bought tatkal tickets while other passengers would see absolutely no upward movement in the status of their tickets,” said a railway official. The ‘tatkal first’ rule was the brainchild of Central Railway’s general manager Subodh Jain who proposed the idea to the railway ministry in January last year. The ministry had accepted it in May. However, against the CR’s recommendation that just one-third of these extra coaches be reserved for the tatkal waiting list, the ministry went ahead with the rule without any upper limit on tatkal tickets. The scheme started of with a bang with all zones claiming that they had managed to clear their tatkal waiting lists but complaints soon started pouring in from regular passengers who were finding it all the more tough.



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