Indian Railways: Booking tickets through IRCTC? Beware! Avoid doing this
While booking tickets, people often prefer getting the lower berth especially for women and senior citizens.
The Indian Railways Tourism and Catering website irctc.co.in allows a user to book train tickets online. Lakhs of people book tickets using the IRCTC website daily. While booking tickets, people often prefer getting the lower berth especially for women and senior citizens. The railways has recently also hiked the number of reserved seats in Sleeper and AC-classes for the women and senior citizen passengers.
The irctc.co.in also allows a user to select a choice of berth while booking the tickets online. While this feature doesn't guarantee that you will be allotted the same seats as opted, there is another option that let you chose the option to book tickets only if one or two lower berth is available.
If you opt for any of these options, your tickets won't be booked if there is no lower berth available. However, even if the ticket is not booked, the total amount will be deducted from your account. Now you may worry that if the ticket is not booked, the amount should not have been debited. A senior IRCTC official explained the mechanism behind this.
"The IRCTC website is developed by the CRIS. This happens due to the ticket booking arrangement in place. Let's say that you have checked the availability of the seats and now you proceed to book the tickets. So, at first, your payment will be deducted and then with that payment tag, the IRCTC goes to the CRIS to book berths for you. This is similar to the process of any other e-commerce portal where payment is deducted first to book your order," said Rajni Hasija, Director, Tourism and Marketing.
Hasija said that if a user doesn't select the options, he/she will get the berth from the available seats.
Reacting to the issue, CRIS MD Mukesh Nigam said that the online ticket booking system is very dynamic and situation and availability of the berths changes every second. Nigam said that it's quite possible that one who gets the early access gets the desired berth and other may not get it.
What should you do?
Though the IRCTC returns the debited amount to the account in case the ticket is not booked, one will have to wait for around to a week-time to get the money back. It's advised that select the dedicated lower-berth option only if you cannot travel without it. Also, as a precaution, select the option only if there are at least 150 berths available in the train. In this case, there are higher chances of you getting the lower berth. If there are only 50 or 60 berths are available on the train, avoid selecting the option.
If the amount is not credited to your account, you can raise a rquest with the IRCTC quoting the transaction number to get the refund.
The IRCTC had launched a new user-friendly interface in May last year. The IRCTC next generation website allows users to enquire/search trains and check the availability of seats without login also, thereby saving precious time of the users.
In addition, more features such as new filters on ‘My Transactions’ where a user can also view their booked tickets based on Journey Date, Booking Date, Upcoming Journey and completed the journey. To enhance customer’s booking experience, interesting features like ‘Waitlist prediction’, etc have been introduced. Using this feature, the user can get the probability of a Waitlisted or RAC ticket getting confirmed.