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Tuesday, 28 June, 2016, 15 : 00 PM [IST]

67% train travellers book tickets without any concrete travel plan; survey

A recent data analysis and survey done over nine months by revealed an unhealthy swell in Speculative Booking since the increase in advance booking period (to 120 days from previous 60 days). This frenzied buy is due to Speculative Booking where people book their train tickets out of mere speculation or a vague intent and not because of any concrete travel plan.

Talking to travellers from 20 cities, the survey revealed that 67% of people who had booked tickets more than 90 days in advance did it without a concrete travel plan. These train travellers did not want to run the risk of waitlist tickets by booking at a later date. RailYatri attributes this to the phenomenon of Speculative Booking. The survey also revealed a small number of 22% travellers who had booked ticket with definite travel plans in the above mentioned period.

Indian Railways train ticket booking window until 31 March 2015 used to be 60 days prior to the date of travel. This was increased to 120 days thereafter. RailYatri’s analysis and survey pertained to train travellers, who had booked their tickets more than 60 days in advance. According to RailYatri, this traveller count is significant enough to cause the trains getting completely booked leaving the remaining to get into a wait-listed queue.

This phenomenon of Speculative Booking becomes acute during holiday/festive travel booking. “With the exception of January where rush in trains can be attributed to disruptions, train in India see significant rush in 8 of the remaining 11 months,” explained Manish Rathi, CEO, RailYatri. “We have been tracking traveller and train movements over the last few years now. This increasing trend of Speculative Booking is something we can attribute to last few quarters.”

As an example according to RailYatri data, the fastest ticket run out time for Durga Puja ticket was recorded for the route between Delhi and Kolkata. By 1 PM on the first day, tickets to Sealdah and Howrah stations were already seeing RAC and by the end of the day they got to high waiting list counts. “This trend of speculative booking by consumers has an eerie similarity to the unhealthy practice of hoarding behavior in the commodity world. Speculative ticket booking like the hoarding behavior seems to be a common response to the fear of losing out on shortage of something good. This seems to be leading towards an inefficient distribution of an already scarce resource i.e. train tickets thus making the scarcity even more of a problem” added Rathi. “Our data is pointing that this practice is becoming more prevalent due to the recent increase of advance booking period. This is leading to the cycle of longer waitlists and last minute cancellations.”
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