E-tickets bought through the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) will be costlier as the railways has decided to restore the service charges from September 1, according to an order. The charges were reflecting when Gadgets 360 tried booking tickets on Monday. The IRCTC is levying a service charge of Rs. 15 on a ticket for non-AC classes and Rs. 30 for AC classes, including first class, according to the order. The Goods and Services Tax (GST) will be applicable separately.
The service charges were withdrawn three years ago to promote digital payments, a pet project of the BJP-led government. The IRCTC used to levy a service charge of Rs. 20 on every non-AC e-ticket and Rs 40 for every AC ticket. Earlier this month, the Railway Board gave its approval to the IRCTC to restore the service charges. In a letter dated August 30, the Board said the IRCTC had made a "detailed case" for the restoration of service charges and the matter had been examined by the "competent authority".
It further said that the finance ministry had contended that the service charges waiver was a temporary one and that the railway ministry could restart it. Officials say that after the service charges were discontinued, the IRCTC saw a 26 percent drop in Internet ticketing revenue in financial year 2016-17.
For payments made through UPI/ BHIM applications, the convenience fee will be Rs. 10.00 and Rs. 20.00 on the passengers for booking railway tickets online for non-AC and AC classes, respectively. Till a software for UPI/BHIM is developed, payment through it will be incentivised by offering prizes through lottery on a regular basis.