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IRCTC sees high ticket volumes, but lower convenience fees per ticket thanks to BHIM & UPI payments

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Around 7.5-8 lakh tickets were booked on IRCTC per day between in Q3FY21, a trend which has carried on in January, the company's chairman and managing director Mahendra Pratap Mall disclosed on an earnings call on Friday. Between October-December alone, 55 million tickets were booked. The railways was heavily impacted in 2020 by the suspensions in movement due to the coronavirus pandemic. Trains were suspended from March until May, and then only resumed at staggered capacity. However, per day ticket volumes are nearly 90% of pre-COVID volumes. Mall said that 30% of the per day bookings are coming from bookings on previously unreserved seats; each mail express train used to have 3-4 unreserved coaches, which the Indian Railways has converted into 'sitting' reserved coaches post-COVID, the Railways also used to handle the bookings for these coaches directly. Now, these bookings have been handed over to IRCTC, explaining the high ticket volumes despite only a proportion of trains plying. Internet ticketing driven by high ticket volumes We had reported earlier that IRCTC's profitability in 2020 so far has been driven by the internet ticketing segment, which in turn is driven by convenience fee. While internet ticketing revenue was ₹143 crore for Q3, convenience fee income was ₹95 crore, Mall disclosed on the investor call. A balance income of around ₹48 crore came from non-convenience fee related charges this quarter. This is higher than the last two quarters, one investor pointed out.  Mall explained that the number of tickets booked has increased,…

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