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Indian Railways discourages ‘tatkal’ booking at station counters


Kochi: Your chances of getting tatkal tickets via online booking are higher now than through spot booking after standing in queue for long hours.

To restrict tickets being sold through reservation counters, the railways are using ‘speed breakers’ or ‘CAPTCHA’ in machines at the counters. This means automatic errors will pop up in the computer systems or the staff have to type letters of distorted image to further enter the details of passengers.

“We’ve become experts in entering the commuters’ data after working for so many years. However, because of the ‘CAPTCHA’, work has been slowed down by distorted words that are illegible. We could now give only half the number of tickets that we used to issue earlier. This, even as in stations like Ernakulam South, people stand in queues for 10 to 12 hours to take tatkal tickets,” said a reservation counter employee on condition of anonymity.

Though the chances of typo errors are very less, the counter staff claim that automatic errors would pop up. “For instance, a letter might look like an “m” on screen. Only when the entire word is taken into context does it become clear that it is a ‘u’ and an ‘n,’” the official said.

Recently, the IRCTC had developed and implemented an e-ticket application to more than double the existing capacity to address online demand for tickets.

“The railways are moving away from the common man. The introduction of premium trains is another such case. Recently, the ticket cost for the Chennai Central-Jaipur reached Rs 9,000. This is not the way a service industry should function,” said Southern Railway Mazdoor Union president C. A. Raja Sridhar.


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