Last-minute travellers have helped railways earn a whopping Rs 25,392 crore in the last four years, an RTI has found.
The national transporter earned Rs 21,530 crore from Tatkal quota tickets and an additional Rs 3,862 crore from Tatkal Premium tickets between 2016 and 2019, with a massive 62 per cent increase in revenue from the latter during this period.
Tatkal booking was introduced in 1997 in select trains with an objective of providing accommodation for last-minute travellers and was extended across the country in 2004.
Tatkal ticket charges have been fixed as a percentage of fare at the rate of 10 per cent of basic fare for second class and 30 per cent of basic fare for all other classes subject to minimum and maximum.
Under the premium version, which was introduced in 2014 in select trains, 50 per cent of tatkal quota tickets are sold using the dynamic fare system.
In 2016-2017, the revenue from such tickets touched Rs 6,672 crore, going up to Rs 6,915 crore the following year.
In 2017-2018 railways' earning from Tatkal quota rose to Rs 6,952 crore, according to a RTI filed by Madhya Pradesh based RTI activist Chandrashekar Gaur.
However, it is in the Tatkal Premium quota tickets that railways saw a 62 per cent jump in its earnings from 2016-2017 to 2018-2019 to Rs 1608 crore. In 2016-2017, the amount was Rs 1,263 crore and in 2017-2018, the amount was Rs 991 crore.
The tatkal scheme currently covers around 2,677 trains. According to railway figures, around 1.71 lakh seats, of the 11.57 lakh available, are up for booking under the tatkal scheme.