As per an RTI, last-minute train travelers who booked tickets through Tatkal service have helped the Indian Railways to earn a hefty Rs 25,392 crore in the last four years.
From the Tatkal quota tickets, the railways have earned Rs 21, 530 crore and an additional Rs 3,862 crore from Tatkal Premium tickets between 2016 and 2019. During this period, there was a massive 62 percent increase in revenue from the latter during the period.
For the uninitiated, in 1997, Tatkal booking was introduced in select trains with an objective of providing accommodation for last-minute travelers and was extended across the country in 2004.
The ticket charges for Tatkal have been fixed as a percentage of fare at the rate of 10% of basic fare for second class and 30% of basic fare for all other classes subject to minimum and maximum. Under the premium version introduced in 2014 in a select train, 50% of Tatkal quota tickets are sold using the dynamic fare system.
According to an RTI filed by MP based RTI activist Chandrashekar Gaur, in 2016-2017, the revenue from such tickets touched ₹6,672 crore, going up to₹6,915 crore the following year. In 2017-2018 railways’ earning from Tatkal quota increased to ₹6,952 crore.
However, it is in the Tatkal Premium quota tickets that railways saw a 62 percent jump in its earnings from 2016-2017 to 2018-2019 to ₹1,608 crore. In 2016-2017, the amount was ₹1,263 crore and in 2017-2018, the amount was₹991 crore.
As per the railway figures, the Tatkal scheme presently covers around 2,677 trains and around 1.71 lakh seats of the 11.57 lakh available are reserved for booking under the Tatkal scheme.