Konkan Railway photo by Himanshu Sarpodar

The biggest change is that from sometime next week (no exact date has been given as yet), Tatkal (emergency quota) booking will only be possible one day in advance of travel. For the last several months it has been two days ahead. The reason for the change is that there are quite a few unscrupulous travel agents who buy up many tickets under fictitious names and resell them at a premium, then getting refunds on the unused ones.

Between 8-9AM, the website (www.irctc.co.in ) is open exclusively for individual users who wish to buy Tatkal e-tickets on line as the agents are barred from booking Tatkal tickets during that time.  If they find that you are traveling with Tatkal tickets booked by agents between 8AM and 9AM, your ticket will be cancelled.

If you are booking through an agent, be sure to use an authorized one. There are over 150,000 of them in India, so it should never be a problem to find one. You can also book tickets at any post office. Agents are allowed to charge Rs40 for a/c  class and Rs20 for sleeper class e-tickets. This is in addition to IRCTC’s charge of Rs.20 and Rs.10, respectively. For Tatkal e-tickets, agents can charge double that amount. There are no additional charges for printouts of the e-ticket. If the agent demands more than that, you can file a complaint by emailing agentcomplaint@irctc.co.in or care@irctc.co.in, or by calling 011-3934 0000.

All e-tickets should have the name of the agent outlet booking the ticket along with address, contact number and name of the Principal Agent. If you cancel through the same agent, there is no service charge for cancellation other than the ones that IRCTC normally charges.

To book an e-ticket, whether you do it yourself or through an agent, you have to have a mobile phone for them to send your confirmation on. It can’t be the agent’s number. However, it must also have the name of the agent booking the ticket along with their address and contact number.


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