New Delhi Station & E-ticket scam!

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#1 Mar 2nd, 2009, 22:43
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  • Bazzieb is offline
#1
Hi, I can't believe I'm posting about a scam for my first post. I'll make sure I also post up all of the details of the fabulous times I had on my three week trip to India in January.
I got to New Delhi station after only one night in India. When we got out of the car we were mobbed as we had expected - we saw very few tourists in Delhi at all, oddly. Everyone was trying to take our bags which we hung on to and we were pointed towards the entrances to the station on the sides. This seemed odd to me as I expected the entrance to be right in the middle under the big sign. However, my partner was in front and heading that direction so I followed. Sure enough, when we got there there were metal detectors and a guy in uniform who asked to look at our tickets. He told me my ticket wasn't confirmed. I told him it was an e-ticket and it was. He asked which coach we were in. I told him it was a 1st class ticket and we would know that when we looked on the board on the platform. (I'd done my homework - thanks India Mike). He told me that no, it wasn't confirmed and I had to go to the Government tourist office at Connaught Square to have it confirmed. If my seat was no longer available they'd sell me a new one. I debated all of this but he wasn't letting us through. My partner was insisting that as the guy worked there and was sending us to a Government tourist office that it must be legit. I was starting to doubt myself even though everything in me was yelling scam. He showed us on the map where the Government tourist office was marked and arranged for an autorickshaw to take us there. I kept looking over to where the big sign was and he kept telling me to focus on the map as we were short of time and he was telling me what I needed to do to catch my train. So, my partner, me, our big suitcases and two guys in front (one driving and one who could speak English) all went racing through Delhi to the tourist office. As soon as I had sat down and wasn't being bombarded I told my partner that I didn't believe any of this and if this office didn't look totally legit we were straight back in the rickshaw. Of course, we were taken up some back alley in Connaught Square to a tour operator. I flipped as we were running so late now and knew it was a scam to make us buy a new ticket. I got straight back in the rickshaw and told them to get us back in superfast time or all hell would break loose. When we got back to the station I ignored everyone - like EVERYONE - telling me where the entrances were at the sides and walked straight to the middle of the station. Sure enough, there were closed doors which were the proper entrances to the station. I have no idea what the other entrances were that we were being pushed towards. There were armed police etc. all checking us upon entry and I realised that the original guy in uniform wasn't even an employee of the railway company. We just caught our train - I really would have liked an extra few minutes to just go and thump the scammer who probably would have had a cut from the travel agent and probably did get a cut from the rickshaw driver. Everyone there is obviously in on this so anyone catching a train from New Delhi - head to the centre to enter the station, not the doors to the left or right of the facade.
#2 Mar 2nd, 2009, 23:09
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  • SteveK is offline
#2
Interesting story, thanks! I'm going to India for the first time in a couple of weeks and I've been told of a similar scam which goes like this...

You're heading to the station when you're accosted by an official-looking guy in uniform who asks where you're going. You say "<wherever>" and he says "All trains to <wherever> are suspended for <some reason>." He then tells you the railway company can arrange a taxi for you to <wherever>, for a fee, of course!

I'm going to be taking trains for some of my travels and I'm going to be checking, myself, personally, at the official ticket office for any details!
'The journey is the reward.' - Chinese proverb
Last edited by SteveK; Mar 2nd, 2009 at 23:10.. Reason: Typo
#3 Mar 3rd, 2009, 00:02
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  • OceanTragic is offline
#3
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bazzieb View Post Sure enough, when we got there there were metal detectors and a guy in uniform who asked to look at our tickets...
I really would have liked an extra few minutes to just go and thump the scammer
Got a photo of him? I'll have him for you! Perhaps I'll take a photo of him and post it back here?

All joking apart, it's only the ones (like me) who have never been somewhere before - and wouldn't know whether the entrance was here or there - that'll get done by this sort of scam. Your post is very useful, thanks.

I'm just about to go and check out images/youtubes of the stations I'm going to, so that hopefully I'll be prepared.
#4 Mar 3rd, 2009, 00:20
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  • jsme84 is offline
#4
hi , I m in delhi at the moment and I think the same guys tried to get me but I ignored them.
This guy told me to go in on the right hand side of the station , he was very insistent and was actually getting pretty aggressive about it when I started walking off.
If youre a tourist at New Delhi station,looking from the front , look up on the left hand side and you will see a blue sign with international tourist bureau. You follow the signs up the stairs and this is where you get your ticket.
#5 Mar 3rd, 2009, 01:18
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  • steven_ber is offline
#5
There's 3 lots of people who are to blame for this.

1, the Indian authorities, have you seen the massive official looking boards above shops on the road outside the station? they're a complete con, and it's disgusting that officials allow these travel agents to have these signs.

2, Indian people, it must be obvious to locals that these people are trying to scam tourists, yet they do nothing about it, most times I go to a station like New Delhi I find a tourist falling for this kind of scam, I always go and try to help them, and it really pisses off the touts that I understand railway tickets.

3, ME, I went to New Delhi station a dozen times a few months ago and I knew there was a new scam going on, but as much as my curiosity wanted to check out the scam, I never really had the time, I knew they were guiding people to the right (south) of the station (an entrance to the overbridge to get to the other side of the station), and I'd had a few discussions with the touts, but I never followed through to find out what was happening.

To everyone, you cant get train tickets at an official Government tourist office, they don't sell them, the travel agents just use that name because it sounds official, and it will work, particularly with tourists fresh off the plane or in a rush, you really need to be relaxed and in 'India' mode to be able to comfortably deal with these touts.
#6 Mar 3rd, 2009, 01:28
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  • OceanTragic is offline
#6
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Originally Posted by steven_ber View Post most times I go to a station like New Delhi I find a tourist falling for this kind of scam, I always go and try to help them,
You couldn't wait outside Old Delhi station for me in a month's time could you?
#7 Mar 3rd, 2009, 01:52
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  • steven_ber is offline
#7
I've been to (old) Delhi station 4 times, and nobody ever tried to con me, only the usual auto drivers trying to earn a living, the station is a lot easier to enter than new Delhi.

But, be warned, it's a long walk from the metro station (mostly underground), and as you enter the Metro (if coming from Paharganj) you'll have your luggage searched, so allow enough time.

Also, New Delhi metro station is on the opposite side of the station from Paharganj.
#8 Mar 3rd, 2009, 02:14
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  • OceanTragic is offline
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Originally Posted by steven_ber View Post I've been to (old) Delhi station 4 times, and nobody ever tried to con me, only the usual auto drivers trying to earn a living, the station is a lot easier to enter than new Delhi.
Good to hear, thanks, but I've got to ask after reading the t-shirt thread: is it a long walk in stilettos?

I'll be arriving at Delhi station, not leaving, and I'll be getting a taxi I guess so just the pricing to worry about.
#9 Mar 3rd, 2009, 02:39
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  • edwardseco is offline
#9
Isn't this one in the guidebooks.?
#10 Mar 3rd, 2009, 04:51
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  • paya is offline
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We walked New Delhi railway station up and down a bit, because we've been accomodated in Ginger hotel which is right there. So I had a chance to meet couple of "ticket touts" and enlightened by this forum I always sent them to hell.
If they notice tourists coming from the street, they exchange some signs with each other. Man at entry gate, pretending to be an authority, asks you for ticked while holding a some pen and memo pad. He also attemptes to redirect me to the "tourist office" even if you can see big blue signs of tourist office pointing to second floor of main building.

I do not know local rulez, but I guess nobody is elligible to ask for ticket but train-conductor inside coach.
#11 Mar 3rd, 2009, 13:12
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  • steven_ber is offline
#11
Quote:
Originally Posted by OceanTragic View Post I've got to ask after reading the t-shirt thread: is it a long walk in stilettos?
Yes, and it's tough on the knees and little toes, but if you clap as you walk along, it can be quite entertaining.

Quote:
I'll be arriving at Delhi station, not leaving, and I'll be getting a taxi I guess so just the pricing to worry about.
If you're going to Paharganj, get a cycle rickshaw, the cost should be maybe Rs30, but I often just give them Rs50 as they work so much harder than auto or taxi drivers and never give us tourists any hassle.

Quote:
Originally Posted by edwardseco View Post Isn't this one in the guidebooks.?
Not exactly, most tourists are ready for the touts to approach them when they get into the main entrance and attempt to go to the official foreign tourist office on the first floor, and this is what the guidebooks mention.

But approaching you before you get to the station can confuse tourists, especially as these people are so convincing.

You know the way Indian people explain something as fact, rather than opinion, and how they do it with such a serious & knowledgeable look on their face, this is the way these people explain about the entrance, in such a calm, helpful manner, I can see easily how a tourist can fall for it.
#12 Mar 3rd, 2009, 21:51
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  • edwardseco is offline
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I guess I have seen so many such attempts to establish a false official demeanor it doesn't phase me. I can see how a new person might be taken by this. I have been conned by the officials themselves so..
#13 Mar 4th, 2009, 08:06
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  • ryler78 is offline
#13
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Originally Posted by paya View Post I do not know local rulez, but I guess nobody is elligible to ask for ticket but train-conductor inside coach.
Is this true? Can I just do my "No spekin da engrish" and keep walking?
Also if I have booked a ticket online and printed, it HAS to be confirmed doesn't it?
#14 Mar 4th, 2009, 09:38
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  • dominoes is offline
#14
At New Delhi railway station a helpful local gave me advice on avoiding railway station scams.

I was craning my neck looking for the stairs to the Tourist Booking Office.

A charming local gent said , "The International Booking Office is upstairs (he pointed) and don't speak to ANYONE!!!"

I opened my mouth to thank him and he said "and that includes me!"

We laughed and went our separate ways.
Last edited by dominoes; Mar 4th, 2009 at 09:38.. Reason: missed word
#15 Mar 4th, 2009, 11:06
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  • steven_ber is offline
#15
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Originally Posted by ryler78 View Post Is this true? Can I just do my "No spekin da engrish" and keep walking?
The policemen can ask to see your ticket, and sometimes do, they will do this as you attempt to enter the platform from the main entrance, you have to go through a metal detector, then there will be some policemen and women, they're easy to identify and most will have guns.

They're not interested in what train you're going to catch or if your ticket is waitlisted, they just want to know that you have a valid ticket to enter the station.

Quote:
Also if I have booked a ticket online and printed, it HAS to be confirmed doesn't it?
No, you can buy waitlisted tickets or RAC tickets online, see my 'Waitlist & RAC' thread for further explanation.

And, no matter what ticket you have, if it's confirmed, or if it's for the right or wrong train, or if it's been half eaten by your cat, there is no need to leave the station to find out what can be done about your ticket, if you have a problem or a last minute question about your ticket, go to the foreign tourist desk on the 1st floor, if this is closed (outside of business hours), then go to see the reservation supervisor or the deputy station manager. (or the 'enquiry window' on platform 1 I think)
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