Beginning from April 1, 2017, the waitlisted rail passengers may have the opportunity to travel in premier Rajdhani, Shatabdi, and Duronto trains at regular fares even if they had booked tickets for other mail or express trains.
- A new scheme has been introduced by Indian Railways under the name & style of “VIKALP Scheme”.
- It may be noted that “VIKALP” is a Hindi word which means “Alternative”. The scheme was launched on March 22, 2017 by Union Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu and it will become applicable from April 1, 2017.
- The scheme will provide brilliant opportunity to the rail passengers on the waiting lists to get confirmed accommodation on next train running on the same route if they opt for the option VIKALP while booking their tickets.
- This scheme was initially launched as a pilot project on November 1, 2016 on the busy Delhi-Lucknow, Delhi-Jammu, and Delhi-Chennai routes and now it will be applicable on all major train routes in the country.
- Currently, this facility would be available for the online ticketing i.e. e-ticketing whereas for Over the Counter bookings i.e. Passenger Reservation Service (PRS) – the software is still under development process and this facility would be made available soon for the PRS system also.
Benefits to the Rail Passengers:
- If any passenger opts for the VIKALP Scheme while booking tickets, he/she will receive SMS alert on mobile phone about getting confirmed accommodation in an alternative train.
- Only those of the rail passengers who remain fully waitlisted even after charting of the original train will only be considered for allotment in the alternate train.
- With this, the waitlisted passengers of any express or mail train can get confirmed accommodation in the next alternative trains, running on the same route within 12 hours.
- The journey in the premier trains like Rajdhani Express or Shatabdi Express will be allowed at regular fares but only for the same destination for which the original ticket had been booked in other express trains.
- This scheme will shorten the waitlists by providing confirmed berths to as many waitlisted passengers as possible.