Shatabdi Express passenger pays Rs 50 on tea worth Rs 20, IRCTC faces backlash

While food services are usually expensive on flights and trains, this rail passenger was fuming after being asked to pay Rs 70 for a cup of tea. The passenger was charged a Rs 50 service charge on a Rs 20 cup of tea. Though initially it seemed like a mistake as service charges are usually 5-10 percent of the item purchased, but when the passenger confirmed, it wasn’t. The bill mentioned the price of the tea as Rs 20 on which a service fee of Rs 50 was charged. 

The passenger tweeted the picture of the bill where he was charged 250 percent of the price of the tea on the Delhi-Bhopal Shatabdi Express train. “50 rupees tax on 20 rupees tea, the country’s economics has really changed, so far only history has changed!” read the tweet. 

Though soon his tweet started getting numerous replies but to correct him. One Twitter user replied, “Service charge is not a tax. It remains with the company. This is the same thing, you will find on Patanjali Bills if you have ever shopped from their outlet.”

“IRCTC is a govt organisation. All service charges go to the government. They can’t write tax because people are aware, that’s why it’s written ‘service’, they’re looting people in the name of service. Good that you shared,” another Twitterati replied.  

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As per a circular by Indian Railways in 2018, if a passenger hasn’t pre-booked his meal while making a reservation on an Express train, then a service charge of Rs 50 will be charged on any food item ordered during the rail journey.

Earlier, the food services were mandatory in trains lie Rajdhani and Shatabdi Express, however, it was made optional in 2017 and passengers were then asked to choose if they want meals to be included in their ticket. Later during Covid-19 pandemic, all the catering services were suspended to avoid any spread of the virus.

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