Indian Railways has recently been introducing a range of measures that target the misuse of the reservation system by touts, who buy up tickets and resell them for a higher price. Earlier this year, the time period allowed for advance reservations was increased from three to four months, and the time frame for the booking of Tatkal tickets (last minute tickets) reduced from 48 to 24 hours before departure.
A new verification procedure was also added to the online reservation system, requiring all accounts to be confirmed with a unique Indian mobile phone number (this has been very frustrating for international tourists, who can no longer use the system).
Now, according to this news report, Indian Railways has decided to move the opening time for Tatkal ticket bookings from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. In addition, agents won't be permitted to book such tickets until midday. These measures will take effect on July 10, 2012.
What's the logic behind the change? Currently, agents sleep at the counters all night, so that they're first to be served in the morning when the counters open. This makes it difficult for regular customers, who want to book without an agent's help, to get a place in the line. Moving the opening time for bookings to 10 a.m. aims to reduce this rush for Tatkal tickets.
The change has failed to impress passengers though, who're concerned that they'll have to wait in line for longer as well as be late to work. The alternative is to try and book Tatkal tickets online, but the system is so congested it makes it impossible to do so.
What are your thoughts?
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