With new timings and additional measures to check the menace of touts, the popular tatkal scheme for train reservations has brought substantial relief to railway commuters.
The changes in the reservation scheme, implemented from this past Tuesday, have led to improvements in the performance of the Indian Railway Catering & Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) website and in the number of bookings.
Basheer Ahmad, who got a tatkal ticket after standing in queue for around an hour or so at Nizamuddin railway station on Wednesday morning, did not have happy memories about getting tatkal tickets either from the railway reservation counter or though the IRCTC website. There were occasions when he spent the night outside the railway station just to be the first in queue, which got moving at 8 a.m.
“I came here at 9 a.m. today because I wanted to see if the new timing had made any changes in the way a common man like me gets reservation done. To my surprise, I got the reservation!” said Ahmad, a resident of Bihar.
Delhi University student Asutosh Kumar has access to Internet at home but preferred coming to the reservation counter because it is “almost impossible” to get a tatkal reservation online.
Talking about the “horrible” experience with the IRCTC website, Kumar said: “As per my experience, there is no point in trying to get a reservation through the IRCTC website. I have not yet tried booking tickets online after the changes made by IRCTC. I just hope it works because then I will not need to come to the reservation counter.”
Since Tuesday, no authorised agents, including agents of the IRCTC and others, were allowed to book tatkal tickets from 10 a.m. to 12 noon from the counters as well as the Internet.
IRCTC Joint General Manager (Public Relations) Pradip Kundu said IRCTC has been getting good feedback. The number of hits on the website site at 10 a.m., the time the tatkal tickets are open for reservation, have decreased almost by half, leading to smooth functioning of the website.
“Previously there used to be more than eight lakh hits when the counters opened for general and tatkal tickets. Since Tuesday, there have been around 4.5 lakh hits on the IRCTC site at 10 a.m. With a fixed number of berths available under the scheme, the extremely high number of hits used to play spoilsport for the common man. Since the last few days, IRCTC has been able to increase the number of reservation thanks to the series of measures it took to dilute the monopoly of touts and agents over reservation,” said Mr. Kundu.
“The changes brought about by IRCTC include increasing the bandwidth of the website from 344 mbps to 450 mbps, besides limiting reservation to two tickets per IP address. We have deleted around 44,000 multiple user IDs — a trick adopted by reservation agents and touts,” he added.