Rail passengers will continue enjoying the booking of rail e tickets without service charge until March 2018. This exemption first effected after de-monetisation in November last year was primarily to encourage digital modes of booking Indian railways ticket. The facility had been extended to June 30 and then September 30 and now is set to encourage us more. E tickets is the way to go and Indian Railways is steaming ahead on digital rail. In normal course the service charges on booking train tickets online through IRCTC ranges from Rs 20 to 40 per ticket.
In September 29 the Railway Board gave a directive for the benefits to be extended till March next year to the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC), the tickets agency of the Indian Railways. In the last financial year, about Rs 540 crore of IRCTC’s revenue of over Rs 1,500 crore came from ticket booking.
Service charges are a major generator of rail revenue for the IRCTC. Senior railway officials say that almost 33 per cent of the IRCTC revenue comes from the service charge collected on online bookings. A loss of Rs. 184 crore revenue could not be realised due to the waiver on service charge and service tax on reserved tickets booked online from November 23, 2016 to February 28, 2017, according to railways data.