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May 3, 2016

Read this before booking premium tatkal tickets of Indian Railway

This is a peak season and believe it or not, the regular railway users are paying 3 to 5 times more for their tickets. Interestingly, in some cases the fare or premium tatkal is even more than an airline ticket.

For a sleeper class where the normal fare is about 300 rupees from one place to another, users are paying about Rs 1000 for premium tatkal ticket, which is five times more than the normal.

In Bhopal Express the AC ticket of Rs 1500 is selling at a price of 5000 rupees. Similarly in Pushpak Express a ticket of Rs 2000 is selling for Rs 7000 (almost 3 times higher price).
expensive premium tatkal tickets
many poor people can't afford expensive premium tatkal tickets


For example, if you book a premium tatkal ticket from Delhi to Bhopal in the evening than you will be required to pay 3 times more for any travel class. In this the 2nd AC ticket is even more expensive than the Indian Airline flight from Delhi to Bhopal.

You should remember than in premium tatkal trains the fare is dynamic in nature. As the number of seats decreases the fare increases. Hence the increase in fare is inversely proportional to seat availability in a train in case of premium tatkal.

Sachin tendulkar of mumbai (not a cricketer) tells us that a sleeper class ticket of Jhelum Express from Gwalior to Jammu is sold at a price of Rs 430, normally. But in premium tatkal the same ticket costs Rs 1300. He requested railway to keep at least the sleeper class passengers out of  the periphery of premium ticket rates.

This is just one example, but in every case where a premium tatkal ticket is booked the fare is much more than the normal fare. Sometimes one feels it would be good to travel by flight than the train. The fare is anyway same (even more) and you reach the destination quicker than the train.

Premium quota was introduced by Indian Railways under dynamic fare pricing policy in 2014. The tickets can be booked online only and before the train chart is prepared. There is no refund given to passenger in case of ticket cancellation. While in normal tatkal ticket one pays about 90 to 175 more rupees, in premium tatkal the ticket price increases at a rate of about 20 to 25 percent with decrease in number of available seats.

Premium tatkal is actually a golden egg producing hen for India Railways. They earn bucket full of money through this scheme. If you are wondering how the fare in premium tatkal is calculated, this might help:

The trains in which there is a provision of premium tatkal quota, 50 percent of seats are filled up using normal tatkal while remaining 50 percent are allotted at a premium price to travelers. With every 10 percent available seats getting booked the fare of premium tatkal increases by 20 percent. Suppose a train has 100 tatkal seats and it also has a premium tatkal quota. Then 50 seats of this train will be booked under normal tatkal fare while other 50 will be booked at premium price. After every 5 seats the fare will jump up by 20 percent.

Now if a sleeper seat's normal tatkal fare is Rs 500, then in premium tatkal you will get a first ticket at Rs 570. When the 5 seats of this quota gets booked, than the user shall pay Rs 653 for the same ticket. For the last 5 seats you will have to pay Rs 2298 (a very big price).

Also note that Indian Railway charges Rs 20 for reservation in sleeper class and Rs 30 as superfast charge. These are extra charges. If train's base fare is Rs 345 than the tatkal charge would be Rs 105 more. It means the first ticket of same train shall be available at a price of 20 percent more. It means it will cost you Rs 69 extra.

The pricing in premium tatkal tickets is similar to airline prices. During recent "Jat Andolan" in Haryana, the fare of Indian Airline from Chandigarh to Delhi reached Rs 1 lakh. The government does not interfere in air ticket prices after the dissolving of Air Corporation Act 1994. But recently in media reports it was published that prime minister Narendra Modi wants fare to come down with fall the crude oil prices. In April the parliamentary standing committee suggested in its report that government should put a price cap on ticket fare so that it does not rise more than the affordable limits.

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