Bad news for train passengers, all the e-tickets bought through Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) will now get costlier as the Indian Railways has decided to restore the service fee charges.
IRCTC used to charge INR 40 on AC and INR 20 on the non-AC ticket. These charges were removed in 2016 by the government to promote digital payments in India.
First, the service charge for train tickets booked via counter was removed, and then, the service charge on all e-tickets booked via IRCTC app or website was also removed.
IRCTC has taken this decision due to falling revenues. Ever since the service charge was removed in 2016, Railways has been incurring losses. Officials say that after service charges were discontinued, IRCTC saw a 26 per cent drop in Internet ticketing revenue in financial year 2016-17.
Between November 23, 2016, to February 28, 2017, IRCTC lost Rs 184 crore due to service charge not received on e-Tickets.
In a letter, the Board has said the IRCTC, the ticketing, and tourism arm of Indian Railways, had made a ‘detailed case study’ for the restoration of service charge on booking the of e-ticket and the matter has been examined by the competent authority. It further said the Finance Ministry has contended that the scheme of waiving of service charges was a temporary one and that the railway ministry could begin charging e-tickets.
As per various an estimate, 33% of the revenues generated by Indian Railways came via service charges levied. In 2016, before this service charge was removed, Railways earned Rs 1500 crore, out of which, Rs 540 crore came via the service charge on e-Tickets.
The charges will be applied on both direct customers and agents.
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