Refund of railway tickets booked for travel during the lockdown period from March 22 to May 3 would exclude a convenience fee ranging from ₹10 to ₹30 per passenger levied by the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC), a top railway ministry official has said.
IRCTC – the on-line ticketing arm of Indian Railways – levies a convenience fee of ₹15 per passenger on a sleeper class ticket and ₹30 on AC ticket. The convenience fee is reduced to ₹10 for sleeper class and ₹20 for AC if the transaction is done through BHIM UPI aap. As much as 50 per cent of IRCTC ticket sales are transacted through the BHIM UPI aap.
Similarly, if somebody buys a ticket from a ticketing booth run by the Railways, he/she will pay ₹10-15 less on each booking, depending on the class.
IRCTC collected around ₹14.1 crore on 94 lakh tickets booked for travel between March 22 and May 3, by taking ₹15 per passenger convenience fee for sleeper class ticket as the criteria.
The convenience fee collected for booking a ticket on the IRCTC website or app goes to IRCTC as the ticketing system is run by it, while the rail fare goes into the account of Indian Railways.
“IRCTC incurs a fixed expenditure of as much as ₹57 lakh per day for running the ticketing system,” the official said.
“The convenience fee is not part of rail fare. A convenience fee is for the service offered by IRCTC of booking a ticket on the web,” the official said. “That convenience has already been offered in booking a ticket and IRCTC has rendered its service. Since, Indian Railways could not offer the service of transporting a passenger from point A to B during the lockdown, it is giving full refund on the rail fare,” he said.
Between March 22 and April 14, ticket booking on IRCTC website/app was at 10 per cent of the regular booking volumes.