Maharashtra: Train travellers ask, 'why pay cancellation fees for obeying state orders?'
Cancellation fees touch raw nerve for train travellers as they ask why they should pay for obeying a government advisory.
Charni Road resident Suresh Rathod is irked about having been forced to pay a cancellation fee for two train tickets (to and fro for three family members) booked for a holiday to Tarkarli from March 17.
Rathod said, "I cancelled the Railway tickets booked for me, my wife Bhavini and daughter Hinanshi from March 17 to March 21. I had booked the tickets in January this year. When I went to Churchgate station to cancel them on March 14, there was a long queue of people at the counters, all cancelling long distance travel plans. I too thought it best to exercise caution, in these times."
Rathod cancelled his tickets but had to pay R1,140 as cancellation fees. He had paid R5,910 for the tickets and got a refund of R4,770. The communications professional said, "Besides safety for me and my family, we are also following the government advisory on cutting non-essential travel. Not travelling is in the national interest, so why should we have to pay a cancellation fee? The Railways has to consider waiving off the fee at least till April 15. People are being forced to cancel travel plans because of unfortunate and unforeseen circumstances, which is the virus. It is not the amount of the cancellation fee — it may be significant for some, may not be for others. It is the principle," he said.
Rathod added that he also had to deal with the disappointment of cancelling a holiday, "It would have been a good break as a family, after my daughter's exams. That is, of course secondary, the first is consideration for the health of my family and of others. There are private companies charging zero cancellation fee in these times. "
Rathod tweeted to Railway Minister Piyush Goyal, too. A part of his tweet read: 'Not travelling is in the larger interest of the country, IRCTC or airline should give full refund till April 15'. "There has been no reply yet," said Rathod.
The Central Railways chief Public Relations Officer (PRO) Shivaji Sutar stated, "We have not received any directions with reference to cancellation fees."
This paper had reported earlier that there has been a spate of cancellations many because of advisories calling for restrictions on travel. As per official statistics, while 66,980 passengers had booked tickets between March 4 to 11 2020, there have been 14,587 cancellations, which means fewer bookings but more cancellations with a rise of over 4,000 over last year's figures.
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