Named 'Vikalp' or alternative, the scheme aims to utilise vacant berths in many premier trains including Rajdhani, Shatabdi, Duronto and other special ones such as Suvidha trains in all major routes. Railways has to return about Rs 7,500 crore a year as refunds to customers for cancellation of tickets for various reasons.
"We aim to achieve the twin objectives of providing confirmed accommodation to waitlisted passengers and ensure optimal utilisation of available accommodation by this scheme," a senior Railway Ministry official said.
After introduction of flexi-fare system in premier trains - which raises or drops prices of tickets based on demand - some berths have gone vacant while the demand for seats in Mail or Express trains have overshot supply.
"In any case these berths are running vacant. So whatever we can save in refund is going to be a neat save for us. No additional cost is involved to railways so anything we save, will be earnings for railways," the official added.
Currently, the railways is running the scheme in six routes including Delhi-Lucknow, Delhi-Jammu and Delhi-Mumbai sectors since November 1, as a trial. The system is available for online ticketing now but it will be extended to over the counter sale as well.
(With inputs from PTI)