If you're thinking of travelling with the Indian Railways in the coming months, railway minister Suresh Prabhu has lined up some exciting changes to our favourite old-school, always wait-listed, mode of transport.
- Airport-like experience at railway stations:
The Indian railways have introduced the concept of 'executive lounges' to provide an airport-like experience at railway stations. For ₹100 per hour, passengers can relax in a smartly-furnished lounge with attractive interiors, TV, AC and WiFi services.The first lounge was launched at the New Delhi railway station, and more will soon be opened in Agra and Jaipur.
- Refund on Tatkal tickets:
Currently, the Indian Railways does not offer any refund on the cancellation of Tatkal tickets (scheme for booking seats at a short notice). From 1 June however passengers will get a 50 percent refund on cancellations.
- Wait-listed Rajdhani passengers may get to fly with Air India:
Passengers with wait-listed tickets in the Rajdhani Express will now have the option to take an Air India flight to their destinations. Passengers with First Class AC tickets won’t need to pay more for the flight, but the second and third class AC tickets-holders may need to pay about ₹2,000 as additional charges.
- More good news for Rajdhani and Shatabdi:
The number of coaches in two of India's fastest and most comfortable trains will go up, allowing more passengers to travel comfortably, and only soft copies of tickets on mobile devices will be valid while travelling on them.
- Regional languages:
From now on, people can book tickets online for all trains in regional languages.
- No extra charge on using credit or debit cards:
From 1 June onward, the Indian Railways will no longer charge ₹30 extra on transactions using credit and debit cards for purchasing tickets at reservation counters.