Union Railways Minister, Suresh Prabhu is one person who can be termed as a man of his words. Well, we are not the one saying this, but the continuous reforms and upgrades that are being witnessed by the Indian Railways makes many use these words.
In a new move by the Railways Ministry, it has allowed foreigners and NRIs to book their tickets almost a year in advance (360 days). This new move by the ministry halts the previous window of 120 days. As per reports, the ministry is expected to go public with this announcement, later this week.
With an aim to attract more tourists and to also boost the revenue, the railways have brought in these new and easy steps in order to felicitate ‘quick-easy’ ticket booking for foreigners and NRI travelers. However, foreigners can only enjoy this privilege in first AC, second AC and executive class of Mail Express trains as well as in Rajdhani, Shatabdi, Gatimaan Express and Tejas trains.
The facility provided by the railways, does not permit the foreigners to get their tickets booked in sleeper and third AC of trains. Also, the foreigners lack the opportunity of travelling in Suvidha trains — it caters to last-minute travel planners.
This move is aimed at providing adequate time to the foreigners and NRI travelers so that they can plan well in advance.
While speaking to a local daily, a Railway official said that the advance reservation period has been extended to 360 days for foreigners as well as NRIs. Following the announcements, they can book their tickets online anytime without depending on travel agents. The travelers are required to give visa details, passport and international mobile numbers while booking tickets online through the official railways ticketing site.
The cherry on the top is not the extension of reservation period but, IRCTC, a railway PSU, that would levy Rs 200 per ticket as service charge. After wooing the foreigners and the NRIs, the ministry is soon expected to launch an integrated mobile application for passengers shortly.