Southern Railway applies brakes on Break Journey, Circular Tours from July 1 in the wake of GST

No GST on rly tickets booked before July 1.

CHENNAI: Come July 1, break journey will be a thing of the past. The Southern Railway has directed its commercial staff and station masters not to issue break and circular journey tickets and combined tickets starting next month.

Railway sources said the order was issued to eliminate technical difficulties in assessing five per cent GST on AC class bookings for break and circular journeys.

Though the GST does not apply to sleeper class reservation and will affect only AC class ticket booking, the railways has decided to go ahead with its plan.

However, the move will cause much discomfort to rail passengers, especially pilgrims and tourists, who take a break during their long distance travel and continue their journey, say next day, using that same ticket.

The new order, quoting a Railway Board directive, further said AC tickets would not be issued at unreserved ticket counters. Similarly, cluster tickets will not be available at counters.

Currently, pilgrims and tourists who take temple tours for more than 1,500 km opt for circular journey. They use a single ticket, valid for 15 days, allowing them to break their journey at a maximum of eight stations. For break journey, the applicants have to submit their forms to station masters of the originating station. Once the station master fixed the fares, passengers could reserve their tickets at counters.

A senior railway official said for circular journeys, a passenger could opt for any class of travel by paying reservation fare to TTE, if he/she had wait-listed tickets with them. Confirmed ticket holder can upgrade his/her class onboard.

“Of the eight break journeys, if a passenger opted for different classes (sleeper and AC classes) for travel, the GST  for AC class should be calculated for that particular part of the journey. It will create a lot of practical difficulties,” the official said.

Opposing the move, rail passengers said the circular journey option eliminated the hassles of booking tickets for every single journey and also came at lower rates.

At a time when railways is trying to promote tourism and run premier trains, withdrawal of circular journey would affect train tourists, said T Mohammed Mubeen, member of the Divisional Rail Users Consultative Committee, Chennai division.

“If there is any technical difficulty in calculating the GST, the railways should allow manual booking of tickets until they fix the issue,” he said.

However, to implement the GST guidelines, the circular rail journeys will be discontinued from July 1, the circular has said.  The Goods and Service Tax (GST), set to kick in on July 1, will replace service tax for all air-conditioned and first class railway tickets. However, tickets booked before July 1 for journeys starting on or after that date will not attract the tax and the difference in service tax and GST will not be collected.

GST will come into effect only on tickets booked on or after July 1, a circular issued by the Railway Board on June 23 has said. The GST amount on that charge will be retained by the railways, it added. The railways will also do away with, from July 1, combined return journey tickets for AC and first class passengers. This means that separate tickets will be issued for onward and return journey to implement GST guidelines, the circular directed.For suburban commuters, a combined return journey ticket will be issued if the originating station and the terminating station fall within the same state. As per the circular, the rate of GST will be 5% of the total fare.In the case of tickets that were booked before July 1 but cancelled after the date, the entire amount along with service tax will be refunded after the cancellation charge is deducted.However, an amount calculated on ther GST rate will be deducted on the cancellation or clerkage charge applicable, the circular said.In the case of cancellation of tickets booked after July 1, the total amount, inclusive of the GST charged at the time of booking, will be refunded with a deduction of the cancellation or clerkage charge, the circular said.

The Goods and Service Tax (GST), set to kick in on July 1, will replace service tax for all airconditioned and first class railway tickets.However, tickets booked before July 1 for journeys starting on or after that date will not attract the tax and the difference in service tax and GST will not be collected.GST will come into effect only on tickets booked on or after July 1, a circular issued by the Railway Board on June 23 has said. As per the circular, the rate of GST will be 5% of the total fare.In the case of tickets that were booked before July 1 but cancelled after the date, the entire amount along with service tax will be refunded after the cancellation charge is deducted.However, an amount calculated on ther GST rate will be deducted on the cancellation or clerkage charge applicable, the circular said.In the case of cancellation of tickets booked after July 1, the total amount, inclusive of the GST charged at the time of booking, will be refunded with a deduction of the cancellation or clerkage charge, the circular said. The GST amount on that charge will be retained by the railways, it added.The railways will also do away with, from July 1, combined return journey tickets for AC and first class passengers.

This means that separate tickets will be issued for onward and return journey to implement GST guidelines, the circular directed.For suburban commuters, a combined return journey ticket will be issued if the originating station and the terminating station fall within the same state. Some zonal railways accord the provision of circular rail journeys, especially for passengers opting for pilgrimages or sightseeing trips to many destinations.These journeys began and ended at the same station and passengers could take the advantage of telescopic rates which are considerably lower than regular point-to-point fare. However, to implement the GST guidelines, the circular rail journeys will be discontinued from July 1, the circular has said..

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