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Tatkal Tickets - A Boon for Emergency Travel

Posted By: techsneha

Train tickets in India will mostly be unavailable unless you book them well in advance. People who have to travel at short notice or in an emergency may find it very difficult to travel by train. They will be faced with no other option but to hope for late cancellations or plead with the ticket collector to find them some seat availability. Fortunately, the railways have now come up with a legal method for gaining seats for such emergency travellers. This system is called ‘Tatkal’. The literal meaning of this word is immediate.

The system enables you to make a reservation just a couple of days prior to your travel and though you would have to pay a premium for these tickets, many passengers find this to be a huge advantage. They now no longer have to depend on railway touts or travel agents to get them seats at the last minute and can make these bookings themselves at railway booking offices.

The premium that is charged for a Tatkal ticket ranges from Rs.15 for a second class sitting ticket to Rs.150 for a sleeper or AC chair ticket. The Tatkal charges for an AC Three tier, Two tier or even Executive class is Rs.300 per ticket.

The Tatkal counter itself is open only two days before a particular train journey. The booking is thrown open from 8 AM. Once you book your ticket under this scheme, you will not be allowed any cancellation rights and you can’t change of name within 24 hours of train departure. The logic is that you have made use of an opportunity that could have been taken by somebody else and for this reason; you have to bear the charges should you decide to cancel your journey or wish to give the ticket to someone else.

You can however get a 25% refund on your ticket charges but not your Tatkal premium if you decide to cancel before 24 hours. You can also get a refund of your ticket if the train itself does not leave at the scheduled time and is delayed beyond three hours.

It is advisable to book your Tatkal train tickets by physically going to the booking office as the IRCTC servers often experience heavy and you may not get access to the booking page. You may have to login earlier than 7.40 AM and keep refreshing your page to ensure that you are not logged out of your session. Any delay can cost you the ticket which you just cannot afford, especially during an emergency.

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