When emergencies call and most other modes of transport burn a hole in your pocket, most Indians come right back to the humble Railways.
In situations like these, one cannot thank the Indian Railways enough for establishing its Tatkal train ticket booking scheme running since 1997, which underwent changes including booking timings in 2015.
With over 1.3 lakhs Tatkal transactions processed by IRCTC every single day, most of the tickets go off within minutes after the Tatkal quota/window opens.
Don’t know how the Tatkal bookings work and have never done it before?
We present to you a step-step guide to understand how this Tatkal scheme works:
What is a tatkal ticket?
‘Tatkal’ means ‘immediately’.
It is a ticket issued by the Indian Railways to provide reservation to passengers who have to undertake a train journey at short notice.
Tatkal tickets can be booked one day in advance excluding the date of journey from the train originating station. For instance: If you are to travel on the 3rd of November, bookings would open at 10 am on 2nd November; however, the day of journey is defined as the day of chart preparation.
How can the booking be made?
You can book your Tatkal Ticket Online on https://irctc.co.in or procure it from over the counter.
Tatkal tickets can be booked on the opening day from 10 am onward for AC class (1A/2A/3A/CC/EC/3E) and at 11 am onward for Non- AC class(SL/FC/2S). In this case, if train is to depart from originating station on 2nd November, Tatkal Booking for AC class will Commence at 10:00 AM and for Non AC class will Commence at 11:00 AM on 1st November.
During this period between 10 am to 12 am, all ticketing agents, including the ones at IRCTC, are prohibited from booking non-Tatkal tickets.
Tatkal bookings are allowed in all ticket classes barring First AC and Executive class.
As per the stipulated Tatkal rules, only four passengers are allowed to travel on a single Tatkal ticket. Individuals are allowed a maximum of two tickets only per user-ID or IP address in a day in the stipulated time.
What if the same ticket has a few confirmed and a few waitlisted passengers?
In such a case, even if one passenger on Tatkal ticket has a confirmed or reservation against cancellation (RAC) ticket, while the rest are on waitlisting list, all are allowed to board the train.
If charting has not been done yet, the Waiting List passenger have a good chance of getting a confirmed seat after charting.
What is the cancellation & refund policy?
While the early rules were stringent and required cancellation of waiting list/RAC was allowed 24 hours prior to the departure, waiting and confirmed tickets can be cancelled 30 min before the departure of train now.
Also, tickets of passengers on the waiting Tatkal list automatically get cancelled with refund if they do not get confirmed or RAC.
It is important to note that while cancellation of RAC and Waist list 30 minutes prior to departure get a refund as per existing Railway rules, confirmed tickets don’t.
But incase the train you are to board is running over 3 hours behind schedule or gets cancelled, you can get a full refund by filing a Ticket Deposit Receipt (TDR) claiming refund.
What is the cost of booking tatkal tickets?
While tatkal charges for second class have been fixed at 10% of the basic fare, it increases by 30 per cent of basic fare for all other classes, with minimum and maximum fares listed down.
How do I play for my tatkal tickets?
Leaving aside the conventional payment options, you can also make the payment for your Tatkal bookings using options like ePaylater or Pay-on-Delivery. These options allow you to book tickets first and pay later. To avail of this, you have to choose ePaylater/Pay-On-Delivery option.
while making payment for e-tickets.
ePayLater sends you a payment link through email and SMS on making your booking that can be made in 14 days. Basically, ePayLater pays for you whenever you book a ticket but charges 3.50 per cent plus applicable taxes for the service.
The IRCTC website also mentions that the failure to make payment within 14 days may lead to them levying a heavy penal interest of 36 per cent per annum, cancellation of your ticket and / or user account deactivation
What is the ID Proof required on my tatkal travel?
The following photo identity cards are considered valid proofs including your Passport, Aadhaar Card, Voter ID, Driving Licence, Pan Card, Nationalized Bank Passbook with photographs, Credit Cards (with laminated photograph), Photo Identity card issued by Central / State Government, Student Identity Card with photograph (issued by recognized School/College), Photo Identity cards issued by public sector Undertakings of State/Central Government, District Administrations, Municipal bodies and Panchayat Administrations.