New Delhi: Indian Railways passengers will now be able to avoid hefty fines on carrying excess baggage as the transport behemoth plans to offer an online service for bookings. The service will be launched by the end of this year on the Indian Railways Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) website, ThePrint has learnt.
The move comes as the Railways intensifies its implementation of a 13-year-old circular that had laid restrictions on carrying luggage over the free allowance limit.
According to the circular dusted out in June this year, passengers carrying luggage exceeding free allowance — defined according to the class on a per person basis — will be fined a penalty of six times the luggage rate.
In August, the Railways penalised as many as 20,798 people for carrying unbooked luggage, collecting Rs 23.15 lakh in fines.
Once the new service kicks in, passengers will be able to book the excess luggage and pay online.
“No more hassles running around on the railway station and from one platform to another, along with the luggage to go to the parcel office and reach the railway station, three hours prior to arrival of the respective train,” a senior official at the Centre for Railway Information System (CRIS), who did not wish to be named, told ThePrint.
CRIS is an autonomous society under the Ministry of Railways and maintains all information systems of the Railways. It is currently working on updating the IRCTC website to include the option for booking excess luggage.
“The provision of booking the excess luggage in a train on the IRCTC website is ready but some business rules have to be cleared by the Railway Board. We are expecting that the process will be over before the year ends,” said the CRIS official.
The new option, however, will provide the passenger to book the excess luggage on the basis of ‘self declaration’.
How the new option will work
The provision of booking excess luggage will be available to all passengers booking e-tickets via the IRCTC website.
Once the passenger chooses to book excess luggage, the computerised passenger reservation system will calculate the fare according to slabs for types of trains, distance and coaches.
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