After a clear indication from the Centre that there would be no extension of the 21-day lockdown, passengers can plan their air and train travel from April 15.
Notably, reservations on the website of IRCTC, the online ticketing subsidiary of Indian Railways, were already open as per the 120-day advanced reservation period (ARP).
The Union Ministry of Railways has clarified in a statement on Thursday saying that “the booking of reserved train tickets never stopped except for the lockdown period i.e. March 24 to April 14.”
“Since, advance reservation period for taking reserved ticket is 120 days, ticket bookings for April 15, and beyond were made open much prior to lockdown period,” the statement clarified.
“If there are passengers who wanted to cancel their Passenger Reservation (PRS) tickets but could not do it due to the lockdown, the Railways has relaxed the rules to allow cancellation and refund till June 21, 2020,” Pradeep Sharma, PRO of the Ahmedabad division of Western Railway, told BusinessLine.
Travel operators say they were seeking inquiries from their clients about resumption in rail and air travel. Manish Sharma of Akshar Travels said that the agency has been receiving inquiries mostly from business travelers. “Our office is closed due to the lockdown. But we are getting travel booking inquiries mostly from business, corporate groups and those having urgent travel requirements. It looks like leisure or social purpose traveling will take some time to pick up,” said Sharma.
“Airlines are showing bookings open from April 15. Our clients were inquiring about booking availability. The Centre has clarified that the lockdown will not be extended beyond April 14, so it is a big relief for our clients,” said another tour operator in Ahmedabad.
The online booking systems of private airlines, including SpiceJet, Indigo and GoAir, were showing bookings from April 15 onward for domestic travel. However, there is no official statement so far from the airlines on the same.
(Source: Business Line)
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