Indian Railways To Introduce Waiting List Tickets For AC Specials From 22 May; More Trains May Be Deployed Soon
The railways will introduce waiting list tickets from 22 May for AC Special trains with signs of lockdown easing.
With Covid-19 lockdown relaxation on the cards, Indian Railways is mulling to run more trains along with Shramik and AC Specials to cater to the ever increasing demand of passengers while allowing wait-listed passengers on special trains.
However, the regular train service suspended until 17 May, has been extended to 30 June now allowing full refund for tickets booked until then.
According to an order issued on Wednesday evening (13 May), waiting lists would be introduced from 22 May for the current AC Special trains as well as the ones to be notified later, in an indication that more trains may be announced for passengers.
Earlier, the railways had said only confirmed e-tickets could be booked and the booking of reservation against cancellation (RAC) or waiting-list tickets and on-board booking by ticket checking staff would not be permitted.
Meanwhile, the Rail Bhawan, the railway headquarters in the capital, will remain shut for two days for complete cleaning and sanitisation as a staff member working in the Bhawan was found to be infected with coronavirus.
We are making some efforts to normalise things in the country and the big challenge is to balance requirements of passengers with the prevailing health conditions, said a senior Railway Ministry official.
While five more coaches were added in the AC Special train between Bhubaneswar-New Delhi due to the heavy demand for tickets, similar arrangements are being made in other sectors as well.
The New Delhi-bound AC Special train from Bhubaneswar was added with four 3-AC coaches and one 2-AC coach owing to high demand for seats increasing the total number of coaches from 17 to 22 now.
Acknowledging heavy rush for tickets, a railways official, however, said no decision has been taken yet on running other trains as such. “But we have to be ready with the strategy in advance to meet the situation when the lockdown would be relaxed further.”
According to the 13 May order, there will be a cap on the waiting list. For the sleeper class, the waiting list will be capped at 200, while for AC-3 tier and AC chair car, it will be 100 each. Additionally, it will be 50 for AC-2 tier and 20 each for first AC and executive class.
All 15 pairs of special trains being run to and from New Delhi have only AC coaches.
Since the reservation period for special trains has been kept at a maximum of seven days, travellers will be able to book waiting list tickets from 15 May. However, there will be no RAC on these trains.
Railways said that if a passenger is unable to travel owing to high temperature or Covid-19 symptoms, he/she will be given full refund. In the case of a party ticket if one passenger is found unfit to travel and all other passengers on the same PNR do not want to travel, a full refund will be given for all passengers.
While AC Specials are showing "full house", Shramik trains are also running with full capacity. The railways has operated 642 Shramik Specials until 13 May 2020 across the country carrying around 7.90 lakh home-bound passengers.
While railways is providing free meals and water to passengers, Shramik trains are being run only after concurrence is given both by the state which is sending the passengers and the state which is receiving them.
As of now (14 May), the total number of coronavirus cases has reached nearly 80,000 with 2,528 deaths.
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