Rail Ticket cancellation just a Phone Call away from Apr 1; just dial 139

IRCTC Now Allows You to Cancel Your Train Reservation By Dialing 139. Railway tickets booked at counters can be cancelled via 139

IRCTC 139New Delhi: Railways Ministry is one of the ministries in India which has grown by leaps and bounds over the past couple of years owing to Digital India campaign. From specific app launches to ‘Clean my coach’ service, a number of initiatives have been undertaken to make the lives of passengers easier.

Adding to the list of services, Railway Ministry is all set to introduce a quick calling service to cancel train reservation, irrespective of the existing stipulated time frame. The service is set to be unveiled in April for passengers, intended to make the life of passengers a tad bit easier. The service will be valid only for passengers who have booked their ticket at the ticketing counters.

Indian Railways has recently doubled the cancellation charges to reduce the number of false bookings and want to promote genuine bookings only. However, it has become a burden on the common man to ensure correct bookings are made at his end.

Existing scenario and proposed service

The existing ticket cancellation procedure isn’t very flexible and often passengers face problems in reaching the station to cancel their ticket on time. In fact, if a person is not able to board the train on time, it is quite obvious that the person will not be able to cancel the ticket at the counter either.

To cancel the ticket and initiate some refund, the person has to reach the ticketing booth within 2 hours of train departure. This is quite unfair since a lot of things can crop up at the last moment.

Indian Railways wants to ease the above procedure and have proposed:

  • Instead of people claiming the refund before 2 hour post-departure of the train, they can call on 139 and provide details of the confirmed ticket for cancelling it.
  • Passenger gets a One Time Password (OTP) for the case opened
  • Passenger can reach the offline counter anytime on the same day to claim refund on the ticket

Ministry feels not only will this allow people to save money they would have lost, but also reduce the hassles one has to go through to cancel the ticket. Relaxing the time period is a really helpful move from the Railways Ministry.

As much as the Government is pushing reservations online through IRCTC, offline booths are still functioning for denizens without access to such services and the internet. Next move would be to have kiosks at the stations for self-service which will further reduce the burden on these counters, which could be used for some other important services at the stations.

As of now, users can dial or SMS 139 to get info on PNR, accommodation availability, fare enquiry, current train position i.e. arrival and departure times, train name and number through both landlines and mobiles. A single SMS costs Rs 3 though. Presently, there aremultiple apps for this as well, but IRCTC lists only two under its domain.

Cap on number of tickets: In January, the Railway Ministry announced that from February 2016, individual users would be able to book only 6 train tickets online per month on the IRCTC website. Before this, individual users could book a maximum of 10 tickets per month. The existing rule of getting to book 2 Tatkal tickets between 10AM and 12PM in a day and 2 advance reservation period (ARP) tickets between 8AM-10AM in a day would be stayed. The Ministry said that this step was taken after it noticed that 90% of users were booking upto 6 tickets every month, while only 10% were booking more than 6 tickets, and which the Ministry also suspected as touts. It stated that the new rule would discourage touts from hogging tickets.

Recent ramp up initiatives by the Indian Railways:

– Earlier this month, the Indian Railways introduced on board housekeeping service (OBHS) which will let passengers as for cleaning of coaches while the train is running. As of now, the service, which was announced in the Rail Budget last month, is available in around 1300 trains offers a scheduled cleaning of coaches twice a day.

– Last month, the IRCTC introduced e-bedroll, a paid service where train passengers could book the bedsheet top, bedsheet bottom, pillow and a fabric pack for their journey at Chennai and Trivandrum Central Railway Stations.

– In the same month, the IRCTC tied up with OYO Rooms to launch an IRCTC hotel-booking page on OYO Rooms, offering its inventory to train travellers. Note that IRCTC’s website continues to list various budget hotel, retiring rooms, lounges etc., and added a button for IRCTC OYO Rooms.

– The IRCTC has been tying up with multiple food delivery companies to let users order food while on the go, as well at train stations. In January, it tied up with TravelKhana, who it had incidentally sued in December for copyright infringement; Hello Curry in November,Foodpanda in the same month, and earlier in 2015 with Pizza Hut and KFC and Jubilant Foodworks.

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