Those who frequently travel by train, today (10 July 2012) is a significantly important day. Starting from today, the Tatkal tickets, instead of being available from 8am, will be available to book from 10am (to 12 noon) via the IRCTC website. The change of timing was made per the suggestions made by passengers who found it difficult to book tickets that early in morning, whether online or offline. And it’s not just a change of timing; it’s a change of policy as well. From today, agents (including the official railway agents) will not be allowed to book tickets in that time period (10am to 12pm). Remember that agents have special access to the system through which they were able to book tickets at a much faster rate than normal passengers. From now on, that access is being disabled between 10am and 12pm (if you need you may see our tips to book tatkal tickets).
If you want to book offline (ie, at a station), you can do so, but only between 10 am and 10.30am.
Tackling offline agents who often collaborate with railway clerks (who book tickets) is also important. Hence, Railways have taken measures to install CCTV cameras in the booking areas of stations and also ban usage of mobile phones in that area.
No doubt that passenger’s will see improvement in the system starting from today, but to what extent, remains to be seen.
Tackling agents is another thing and improving the booking system is entirely a different thing. The current servers of IRCTC are only able to handle about 3.5 lakh bookings per day and arguably, most of those bookings come during the tatkal time period. It’s the need of the hour that IRCTC invests in improving the server capacity as well.
Note: Booked a tatkal and want to know if your Tatkal (CKWL) ticket would get confirmed by journey time or not? Ask me.