Railways is launching a new scheme from April 1, 2017 under
which waitlisted passengers can get confirmed accommodation in the next
alternative train if they opt for the option while booking their tickets. As
per the scheme, there would be no extra charges taken from the passenger or any
refund provided for the difference of fare.
Known as 'Vikalp',
the alternative train accommodation scheme aims to utilise vacant berths in
many premier trains including Rajdhani,
Shatabdi, Duronto and other special service such as Suvidha trains in all
Railways has to forego about Rs 7,500 crore in a year in
refund to customers for cancellation of tickets for various reasons.
Describing the scheme as a "passenger friendly"
move to provide confirmed accommodation to waitlisted passengers in alternative
trains, a senior Railway Ministry official said, "We aim to achieve the
twin objectives of providing confirmed accommodation to waitlisted passengers
and ensure optimal utilisation of available accommodation by this scheme."
"In any case these berths are running vacant. So
whatever we can save in refund is going to be a neat save for us. No additional
cost is involved to railways so anything we save will be earnings for
railways," the official added.
Currently, railways is running the scheme in six routes
including Delhi-Lucknow, Delhi-Jammu
and Delhi-Mumbai sectors since
November 1, on a pilot basis.
The system is available for online ticketing now but it will
be extended to over the counter sale also as the required software is being
readied for the purpose.
The passenger, if opts for the 'Vikalp' scheme while booking
tickets, will get SMS alert on his/her mobile phone about getting confirmed
accommodation in the alternative train.
The name of the passenger who has been provided accommodation
in the alternative train will not figure in the waitlisted charts of their
original train, the official said, adding that a separate list of passengers
transferred in alternative train will be pasted along with the confirmed and