Booking fees for stays on the 2nd class rail ticket

NEW DELHI : Indian Railways has decided to continue to reserve only seats reserved for second-class travel on passenger trains, thereby limiting relief from higher ticketing fees for a large portion of ordinary travelers.

A majority of the 23 million passengers travel in the second class of passenger trains. With the categorization of several trains, as express mail and special vacations during the pandemic, travelers have had to pay more to make their regular trip on higher category trains with only reserved seats.

Responding to a question in parliament, Minister of Railways Ashwini Vaishnaw said that due to the pandemic situation, the second class of passenger trains would continue to run as reserved, except for any relaxation allowed in cases individuals.

This would mean that even for a short duration of second class travel, passengers would have to pay a seat reservation fee in addition to the overall rail fare.

According to data from the Ministry of Railways, the national carrier upgraded 364 passenger services to express services during the period 2020-2021.

Although train acceleration is a constant effort and continuous process on Indian railways and depends, among others, on factors such as track availability / improvement, doubling of sections, improvement of rolling stock, high powered locomotives, etc. to come during the pandemic, such an exercise made train travel expensive for a certain category of travelers.

The minister told Parliament that the passenger fare is charged according to the categorization of the train service. Trains which were operated as Mail Express Specials (MSPC) and Holiday Specials (HSP) due to the Covid pandemic, and were included in the work schedule, 2021 are again operated with a regular number and with a tariff and categorization now applicable. This has been a relief, but there are concerns about maintaining reservation requirements.

The denomination and numbering of trains depend on the nature of the services, viz. Passengers, Express, MEMU and DEMU etc which, among other things, are based on their speed and the nature of the rolling stock.

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