Railways changes Quota system to help Foreigners

In July 2017, railways had extended the ticket booking period for foreign nationals and NRIs up to 365 days.

CHENNAI: Following requests from many foreign tourists that train tickets were being sold one year in advance and many who plan their tour a little late were unable to get tickets, the railways has decided to delink the special privilege tickets, which can be booked before 365 days, from Foreign Tourists Quota.

In July 2017, railways had extended the ticket booking period for foreign nationals and NRIs up to 365 days.

The move was aimed at providing confirmed accommodation in premier trains such as Duronto, Shatabdi and Rajdhani and upper class coaches in regular express trains. Under this category, railways also earmarked eight berths in first AC (two cabins), four berths in first class/2-tier AC Sleeper composite coach, eight berths in second AC class and 10 seats in executive class in every train

This means a train with four two-tier AC coaches will have 38 berths earmarked for foreign tourists.

In addition, foreigners will also be allowed to book the tickets earmarked under Foreign Tourists Quota (FTQ). Tickets under this quota will be decided by zonal railways, depending on the demand in the particular section and advance booking will be opened before 120 days from the date of travel.

“Once the foreign tourists register their demand, they will be allotted berths when advance ticket booking (120 days before) is opened.

“So far, if booking demand exceeds berths earmarked under special privilege category, foreign tourists are allotted berths under Foreign Tourists Quota (FTQ). This will now be changed,” said a senior railway official quoting a recent railway board order.

The official said the last request registered will be honoured, even if the limit is exceeded. “If the last request received is for six passengers and there is scope for allotting tickets for three passengers, then the limit is to be extended by three berths. However, thereafter, no more demands should be accepted,” reads the board order.

The move will now ensure that foreigners who book their tickets on the day of opening of advance booking four months before, will now get the berths, explained the officer. Foreigners can book the tickets with the help of passport number, nationality and international mobile number. They will uniformly be charged at 1.5 times the base fare and `200 will be charged by IRCTC per ticket additionally.