Perturbed with several complaints made by commuters accusing ticketing agents of conning them, members of railway unions have decided to put the brakes on a flourishing racket that dupes long-distance rail passengers.
Union members say that agents are fleecing passengers by not crediting the amount of unconfirmed e-tickets and in the process are making vast profits by pocketing the refunded amount. Demanding discontinuance of the process of issuing unconfirmed tickets through the i-ticket and e-ticket booking system, a contingent of union members and ticket checkers met with top rail authorities in Delhi on Saturday.
Anand Pawale, head TTE and representative of Travel Ticket Examiner (TTE) group affiliated to the National Railway Mazdoor Union (NRMU) and Vilas Kunde chief convener of All India TTE Staff Federation (AITTESF) met with Shiv Gopal Mishra, All India Railway Federation (AIRF) leader (Mahamantri) and demanded an immediate stop to online issuance of waiting list (unconfirmed) tickets.
According to them when an e-ticket or i-ticket is not confirmed, the booking amount is credited to the agent since he pays for it from his personal account. While on the other hand, the commuter who had booked the ticket through the agent is not informed that the said ticket is invalid if it is not confirmed and boards the train.
“The agents are misguiding the passengers. They are making money issuing unconfirmed ticket. If you board a train with an unconfirmed ticket, you are liable to be fined for ticketless travelling, and you also forfeit the money spent on reserving an unconfirmed ticket. We have asked them to put a stop to issuing unconfirmed tickets or issue only confirmed tickets via i-ticket and e-ticket booking systems,” said Vilas Kunde.
Railway officials said that the other major inconvenience encountered by commuters is that the system takes at least a month to disburse the booking amount. In such a scenario, commuters have to constantly follow-up with ticketing agents and have to visit their office on several occasions to check if the booking amount has been credited to their account.
Moreover, agents tell passengers that the only requisite while commuting is to make sure they carry their identity cards with them. They never inform passengers that an unconfirmed ticket is akin to travelling without one. So when a passenger boards a train with an unconfirmed ticket, the ticket checker asks them to alight or pay the fine.
Many times such situations lead to heated arguments between ticket checkers and passengers. “Our ticket checking staff face lots of problems, especially in trains plying in the North. We have urged the authorities to only issue confirmed tickets, and stop the practice of issuing unconfirmed tickets,” said Pawale.
Virendra Singh, general manager, Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation Ltd (IRCTC), said, “Online ticketing is a very good facility for people. Citizens can book tickets while sitting at home. Mostly people know the rules. A little awareness is necessary. I don’t think stopping issuance of unconfirmed tickets is good.”