Railway passengers soon will be able to book your rail ticket four months in advance instead of two months at present.
In his Railway budget speech in Lok Sabha, Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu on Thursday said advance reservation period has been extended from 60 days at present to 120 days to check the rising menace of touts.
Asked when the decision will be implemented, Minister of State for Railways Manoj Sinha told reporters later that it would come into force in the next fortnight. Incidentally, the advance reservation period earlier was 120 days but was reduced to 60 days about two years back, a step the railways had then said was initiated to also check the tout menace.
Member Traffic Ajay Shukla said advancing the reservation period once again to 120 days would discourage the touts as it involves more cancellation charges.
Mr. Prabhu announced introduction of ‘operation five minutes’ scheme under which ticketless passengers can get regular tickets within five minutes of entering station.
Provision of modified ‘hot buttons’, coin vending machines and ‘single destination teller windows’ will drastically reduce the transaction time, the Minister said.
For the differently-abled travellers, a special initiative is also being launched whereby they can purchase concessional e-tickets after one-time registration. It is also proposed to work towards developing a multilingual e-ticketing portal.
“We will move towards crediting all refunds through the banking system,” the Minister said.
Noting that in Central, Western and Southern Railway suburban sections, a pilot project of issuing unreserved tickets on smart phones has already been started, he said the facility would be progressively introduced to all stations. Automatic ticket vending machines have been installed at many stations.