Service charge

shatabdi express: Passenger discovers ₹50 service charge for ₹20 cup of tea on Shatabdi Express

A passenger on a Shatabdi Express from Delhi to Bhopal posted a photo on Twitter showing a receipt for the tea he bought on the train. Interestingly, the photo revealed a service charge of ₹50 for a cup of tea which was ₹20. The total receipt of ₹70 surprised the passenger and consequently went viral on the internet.

While food on flights has always been expensive, food on trains is subsidized for the common man, to make it more affordable. However, a 2018 circular from Indian Railways states that a passenger who does not select or opt for catering services at the time of booking the ticket, will be charged a service charge of ₹50 per meal , if he decides to buy a meal during the trip. Especially with trains such as Rajdhani and Shatabdi, a service charge of ₹50 is applicable even if the passenger only orders tea or coffee.

The passenger, who was unaware of the flyer, like most passengers, was understandably perplexed. Taking a veiled dig at the authorities, he mentioned in his post how a charge of ₹50 on an item costing ₹20 was indicative of the ‘change’ sweeping the nation, analogous to the change in the nation’s history.

There was a time when food on trains such as the Rajdhani and Shatabdi was free, but now passengers can opt out of these meals and save on their total fare. Except for the service charge of course, when they end up ordering ad hoc.

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