Railway’s new Tatkal ticket rule leaves passengers in the lurch

A new rule, governing Tatkal bookings at Pune railway station being implemented from Monday has irked many railway passengers who found themselves caught on the wrong foot.

The railway authorities have issued a diktat, under which token numbers are being issued to both passengers seeking general reservation and tatkal bookings in a common queue since 7.30 am.

What is appalling, grumble passengers, is that, under this new rule, if a person seeking Tatkal booking acquires a token number before 10 am, the form will be considered invalid.

The diktat has annoyed passengers as “no publicity has been given to it so far”. For the past three days, several passengers had to return from the ticket counters and were asked to queue up at the end of the line afresh.

In the old system, the reservation centre gates used to open at 8 am, when people queuing up outside the gates from 5 to 5.30 am in the morning are allowed to enter and queue up at the ticket counters.

The general reservations windows would open by 8 am and passengers could buy tickets without having to get a token number. Around 9.30 am, the token numbers were assigned to only those queued up for tatkal tickets at the each window. The Tatkal issuance would begin as soon as the clock ticked 10.00 am.

But according to the new system, those seeking Tatkal tickets should not queue up before 10 am nor should get a token number. If anybody does so, he will be returned from the ticket counter.

“This new rule is turning out to be a big headache for passengers as well as clerks issuing the tickets. If a clerk asks a passenger who is standing in the queue for two to three hours to go back and queue up afresh, naturally he would get angry and raise hell for him. Again, we are stopping general ticket booking from 10 am till the time Tatkal tickets are exhausted. This also irritates passengers who want to book general reservation,” said an RPF personnel, who refused to be identified.