Reports reveal that e ticket cancellation is major source revenue for the Railway department, fetching them an annual sum of Rs. 750 crore, in between the period of 2005-2011. In addition this, the government earned Rs 30,094 crore from e-tickets from 2005 to April 2012.
In 2011, between March and December, the railways earned Rs 198 crore from cancellation charges of e-tickets. Ever since it began in 2005, e-ticketing has ballooned to make up about 40% of all rail ticket sales. Railway officials say that the convenience that booking and cancelling an e-ticket offers has seen more passengers making advance bookings that very often result in cancellations. In fact, one out of every three e-tickets sold is cancelled.
If a confirmed ticket is cancelled more than 24 hours before the scheduled departure of the train, the penalty is Rs 70 for an AC first-class ticket, Rs 60 for AC Tier-2, AC Tier-3 and AC chair car, Rs 40 for sleeper class and Rs 20 for a second-class ticket. In fact, even if a wait-listed ticket is not confirmed, the Railways go on to deduct Rs 20 before refunding the remaining sum.
Popular trains have long waiting lists of 700 or 800. Almost 95% of the wait-listed tickets do not get confirmed and therefore are automatically cancelled. What ordinarily happens is that most passengers book themselves on more than one train, others with flexible travel dates book tickets on different days if they are on the waiting list.