Image Source: thehindu, wikimedia
With just over two months to go for the next Rail Budget, the government has decided to go for a hike in the Tatkal fares. Incidentally, the hike also comes just after the winter session of the parliament got over.
The new Tatkal rates will be applicable from this Friday, 25th December 2015. The last increase in Tatkal prices was done more than two-and-a-half years ago, although the regular fares were modified more than once in between.
The following table presents a comparison of the Tatkal fares in the past 3 years:
The Tatkal charges are fixed as a percentage of fare at the rate of 10% of the basic fare for second class and 30% of the basic fare for all other classes, subject to a minimum and maximum limit. The minimum distance for Tatkal charges is 100km for Second Class, 250 km for AC Chair car and executive classes and 500 km for Sleeper, AC 2 and AC 3 tiers.
Earlier in November this year, the Railways had also gone for a doubling of ticket cancellation charges, with the purpose of helping genuine passengers getting confirmed tickets and curbing the touting and black marketing of Tatkal tickets. The refund policy was also made stricter for the same reason.
The Railways is yet to make passenger travel profitable, and the latest hike would surely help in that. However, with air fares getting cheaper and with a flourishing bus travel industry, such hikes might also decrease its share in the market. Moreover, the passengers would be justified in demanding better amenities with the increasing prices, and that is one area which clearly needs some improvement.