| Breaking ground
New Delhi, Jan. 24: If you are a waitlisted passenger on the Rajdhani Express from Mumbai to New Delhi, you could strike lucky this week.
The railway is launching an experimental scheme from Thursday to upgrade waitlisted passengers to the next higher class if berths are available. Upgraded passengers will not have to pay the fare difference under this scheme.
Initially, the scheme will be implemented in two trains ' the 2951/2952 Mumbai Central-New Delhi Rajdhani Express and the 2953/2954 Mumbai Central-Hazrat Nizamuddin August Kranti Express.
The facility is designed to fill up seats and berths in all train classes. Lately, the railway has been fighting a grim battle to fill up seats in the higher classes ' especially first class AC ' because of cheap airline fares.
The scheme will be limited to select trains with reserved sleeping accommodation. It will not be offered in trains with only sitting accommodation.
Only full fare paying passengers will be eligible for the upgrade. The facility will not be extended to concessional ticket or free pass holders, including senior citizens.
There are several other restrictions. Tickets will not be upgraded for block booking transactions. Passengers will be upgraded by one class only. A party comprising both full fare and concessional passengers will not be upgraded to avoid splitting them.
Only waitlisted passengers will be provided confirmed seats. The remaining vacant berths will be transferred for booking to the current counters.
Passengers will be automatically upgraded by the reservation system. Train conductors or ticket examiners will have no authority to upgrade any passenger under the scheme.
However, the current system of upgrading passengers on collection of the full fare difference by booking, reservation or checking staff will continue as usual.
If a passenger, who has been upgraded, cancels his ticket, the cancellation charges of the original class only will be payable.
The berths of confirmed passengers, who have been upgraded, will be allotted to the RAC/waitlisted passengers of that class. If some berths are still vacant, they will be allotted to confirmed passengers of the next lower class.
All passengers in one PNR (maximum 6) will be upgraded together. Alternatively, none of them will be upgraded in case of non-availability of enough berths.
Passengers will be upgraded without asking for their choice. However, a passenger can opt for the “no” option in the requisition form at the time of booking. The original PNR of upgraded passengers will remain unchanged.