Have you ever tried to book a ‘Tatkal’ ticket online on IRCTC as soon as the online counter opens at around 8 AM? If you have, there are chances that the IRCTC site does not let you do pretty much anything except from showing you a Busy Server right from 8 AM to 9 AM. The 1 hour window might not sound significant but given the limited availability of Tatkal tickets and invariably high demand, the tickets get over real fast.
Worry no more as Indian Railways has in a much appreciated gesture made ‘Tatkal’ reservations much more accessible for the common man. Indian Railways has taken measures pertaining to the access rights for web-based travel agents,
- Travel agents / web-services agents / web agents of IRCTC will not be given access to Tatkal booking, through e-ticketing on all days between 8 A.M. to 9 A.M.
- Travel agents / web-services agents / web agents of IRCTC will not be given access, through e-ticketing, to trains defined in the system on their respective opening day of Advance Reservation Period (ARP), between 8 A.M. to 9 A.M.
What this effectively means is that the first hour of the booking on the opening day will be available exclusively for users like you and me. The ban on travel agents will not only help reduce the traffic on the site during peak hours but also lead to more chances to a common man of availing a Tatkal ticket.
Travel agent accounts have the rights to book bulk tickets and as such they can corner most of the Tatkal ticket in the very first hour itself leaving others high and dry. What’s more, there are chances that some web-based travel agents might even be running automated scripts to book Tatkal tickets as soon as they are available. No wonder then that Travel agents come forth as life savior whenever one needs a ticket urgently.
The move should indeed help passengers book Tatkal tickets on IRCTC though as I mentioned in an earlier post on IRCTC being the largest e-commerce portal in India, the infrastructure on IRCTC leaves a lot for the asking.Why shouldn’t the authorities take enough measures to upgrade the infrastructure for the website to handle the increased traffic levels. Having said that, the ban of travel agents during 8-9 in the morning should definitely go a long way in making Tatkal reservations more accessible for passengers.
On the other side, this move is expected to have serious implications for travel agents. With the widespread adoption of IRCTC, travel agents would be already witnessing a lack in demand for their services. Emergency tickets in the form of Tatkal tickets is one big opportunity for agents to cash on and now that has been taken away from them.Wonder what will the reaction of travel agents to this ruling from Indian Railways.
The move is commendable since it addresses a huge pain point and signifies that Indian Railways is doing its bit to address issues slowly but surely. What are your thoughts on this announcement?
Do share your experiences if you witness any notable changes in accessibility and speed while booking Tatkal tickets online.