Those travelling in the special passenger trains, operational since Tuesday, will now have to mandatorily provide their destination address as well while booking tickets. The move will help the government in contact tracing passengers affected by Covid-19, the railway ministry said.
Making the announcement, the railway ministry on Thursday said its online ticketing arm, Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC), will note the destination address of each passenger booking the tickets.
“This will help us in contact tracing, if required later,” a spokesperson for the ministry said.
The ministry has also cancelled all tickets for regular trains booked before and during the lockdown for travel up to June 30, all passengers will be issued full refund, the ministry said.
Advance booking of tickets, before lockdown, was allowed up to 120 days from the date of journey.
“Tickets booked for May and June must have been booked in the month of January-February-March. We have refunded 100% money to all,” the spokesperson said.
To be clear, the bookings for special passenger trains that had begun from May 12 will continue. Shramik Special trains for ferrying stranded migrants will also continue to ply, the ministry clarified.
Till Thursday morning, 800 Shramik Special trains had ferried nearly 10 lakh migrants home, the railways said.
The railways has till Wednesday, reported 2,34,411passenger bookings for all 30 trains with earnings of Rs 45.30 crore.
Officials are accepting bookings up to seven days in advance for the 15 pairs of special trains the government has announced to resume passenger services.
For the passenger trains plying now, the refund rules issued by the ministry will apply.
Online cancellation will be permitted up to 24 hours before scheduled departure, and the cancellation charge shall be 50% of the fare.
As per the current guidelines, passengers will have to book general category tickets online — on the IRCTC website and on its app. A few reservation counters will be opened for HOR (high official requisition) holders, freedom fighters, and sitting and former lawmakers, among others.
However, there will be no RAC (Reservation against cancellation) on these trains.
“Anyone who is not allowed to board the train because of symptoms will be issued full refund,” the ministry said.
In an order issued late Wednesday night, the Centre also allowed wait-listed tickets to be issued for the special passenger trains from May 22 onward, the booking for which will begin from May 15.
To be sure, wait-listed tickets are currently not being issued for the passenger trains that began from May 12.
The national carrier may also deploy Shatabdi and other mail express trains too. Only Rajdhani trains are being deployed now for ferrying passengers.
“It has been decided that in these special trains and special trains to be notified in due course of time…there shall be no Reservation Against Cancellation (RAC) in these trains and wait list tickets shall be issued subject to maximum limits; 200 for sleeper, 100 each for AC chair car and 3 AC, 50 for 2 AC and 20 each for Executive Class and 1 AC,” the order, a copy of which has been reviewed by Hindustan Times, said.
Officials said passengers booking the trains had cancelled some tickets at the last minute. “We will start issuing very few waitlist tickets from May 22 because some passengers are cancelling their tickets at the last moment,” a senior railway ministry official said.
Source : Hindustan Times