booking retiring room using international credit card

#1 Jun 10th, 2018, 21:48
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Does anyone know how to book a railway retiring room online?

Online railway retiring rooms are booked at irctctourism.com and the only option for international cards appears to be RazorPay. The interface is minimal at best. Enter your credit card number, CVV, date of expiry and name of the holder and that is it. However, when the button is clicked at the final stage, I get:

"International Cards are not allowed"

How on earth is a railway retiring room to be made online in the absence of the only option allowed for international cards? Does anyone have any experience with this or some other alternative?
Last edited by aarem; Jun 11th, 2018 at 01:08..
#2 Jun 10th, 2018, 23:36
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#2
Strange that, Indian Railways websites are usually so helpful to foreign tourists. (That is just my little joke... ).

I hope someone else can add some up to date info, as I would like this option too.

I guess one work around would be to get a friend or relative in India to make the booking. I believe they would just need your PNR number.

Ed.
#3 Jun 11th, 2018, 00:37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OldandRambling View Post Strange that, Indian Railways websites are usually so helpful to foreign tourists. (That is just my little joke... ).

I hope someone else can add some up to date info, as I would like this option too.

I guess one work around would be to get a friend or relative in India to make the booking. I believe they would just need your PNR number.

Ed.
Yes, indeed. All hype and less substance is the new motto.

For an IRCTC website, I thinik that more than the PNR is needed. The username, password, etc.

Anyway, I wrote to both IRCTC Tourism (this is different from IRCTC) and RazorPay.

I am sure the answer will be "Please use International cards with RazorPay."

Worst comes to worst, can a booking of a retirement room be done at IGIA on arrival in New Delhi? I have heard that IRCTC has a desk somewhere. I am sure that is well-hidden in case someone finds it and someone has to actually stir up to say something is not possible.
#4 Jun 11th, 2018, 19:15
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I got a response from RazorPay:


Quote:
Thank you for writing to us.

In order for you to make a transaction using an International card, the merchant to whom you are making the transaction towards must have international payment enabled for their Razorpay account.

Unfortunately, since IRCTC is an Indian based service, they have not opted for International payments.

You will not be able to make the transaction using an International card, only a domestic card can be used to book the tickets.

Best
Mayank
Team Razorpay
Not explained: why IRCTC Tourism has a link called International Cards which leads to International Cards with RazorPay (3.5% service charge). So the response is worse than I thought.

Anyone suggests how to get a resolution than to tweet at the Minister?
#5 Jun 11th, 2018, 23:22
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It is 34 years since I last used a Railway retiring room, (and also 34 years since I slept on the floor of Howrah Calcutta station, wrapped in a sheet!). Although it would be convenient for a short wait between connections at times, I now feel that as a foreign visitor, it seems correct to allow local folk to avail of these basic cheaper accommodations.

Indian Railways have stopped the senior discount for foreign tourists, maybe not having an option to pay online for a retiring room is their "polite" way of saying "Not intended for relatively wealthy foreigners"?

Maybe a search for a cheap hotel near your station is the only answer, although I think that the very cheap places probably are not online, and maybe don't want the hassle of foreign guests anyway?

I hope you persevere in your quest, it would be nice to try this accommodation one more time, the station floor is definitely not going to be an option for me now!

Ed.
#6 Jun 12th, 2018, 02:03
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OldandRambling View Post It is 34 years since I last used a Railway retiring room, (and also 34 years since I slept on the floor of Howrah Calcutta station, wrapped in a sheet!). Although it would be convenient for a short wait between connections at times, I now feel that as a foreign visitor, it seems correct to allow local folk to avail of these basic cheaper accommodations.

Indian Railways have stopped the senior discount for foreign tourists, maybe not having an option to pay online for a retiring room is their "polite" way of saying "Not intended for relatively wealthy foreigners"?

Maybe a search for a cheap hotel near your station is the only answer, although I think that the very cheap places probably are not online, and maybe don't want the hassle of foreign guests anyway?

I hope you persevere in your quest, it would be nice to try this accommodation one more time, the station floor is definitely not going to be an option for me now!

Ed.
Thanks! The site itself is not just about retiring rooms but about all packages, and in any case, booking online automatically prices out the needier segments because one can not have a credit card in India without a hefty bank balance. Perhaps that is also true about all these digital buzzwords that are doing the rounds. In any case, you have to have money "in the bank" to use these platforms.

I found a hotel "The Hillton" near NJP station. No reviews on it though. Recommended hotels on LP and Rough Guides are in Siliguri town which also warn about hotels. Mostly about safety. That is one thing I expect can be better in a railway retiring room. Also, no need for a late night trip to the hotel because the Shatabdi arrives at 22:30.

But the Darjeeling Mail made it in on time this morning. Well ten minutes late so passengers who had tickets could make it on to the Darjeeling passenger train.
#7 Jun 13th, 2018, 00:59
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I think the argument of rich forens and poor Indians is kind of dated. It doesn't reflect that there are now many Indians that in terms of purchasing power parity could buy any one on this site, some who could everyone on this site. This is not to discourage those who are older from giving away their money to others. Fine tradition that In Indian philosophy although it worked the opposite way for Rajneesh, et al. Its also a way of buying your way into heaven in western religion to this day. Its just the "shaming" that sounds, well, threadbare..
#8 Jun 13th, 2018, 04:11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by edwardseco View Post I think the argument of rich forens and poor Indians is kind of dated. It doesn't reflect that there are now many Indians that in terms of purchasing power parity could buy any one on this site, some who could everyone on this site. This is not to discourage those who are older from giving away their money to others. Fine tradition that In Indian philosophy although it worked the opposite way for Rajneesh, et al. Its also a way of buying your way into heaven in western religion to this day. Its just the "shaming" that sounds, well, threadbare..
I get that there are many billionaires in India, and a wealthy middle class. My impression is that there are also many millions of folk who are not wealthy. If billionaires and wealthy folk want to avail of cheap railway retiring rooms, together with "poor" foreign tourists, good luck to them.
There is no shame in being poor, the shame is excessive wealth alongside the grinding poverty, in my book...
I would love to be able to stay in a railway retiring room again, but not if it is at the expense of someone who is less able to pay for a hotel room than I am.

Ed.
#9 Jun 13th, 2018, 07:00
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#9
Quote:
Originally Posted by OldandRambling View Post I get that there are many billionaires in India, and a wealthy middle class. My impression is that there are also many millions of folk who are not wealthy. If billionaires and wealthy folk want to avail of cheap railway retiring rooms, together with "poor" foreign tourists, good luck to them.
There is no shame in being poor, the shame is excessive wealth alongside the grinding poverty, in my book...
I would love to be able to stay in a railway retiring room again, but not if it is at the expense of someone who is less able to pay for a hotel room than I am.

Ed.
While I agree with both posters, as I said before, the train has left the station with online booking allowed. However, it is not exactly clear that the old system allowed for the dispossessed to get access.
http://www.kaushikbiswas.net/2014/05...ilibility.html

Retiring rooms were largely started by the British and this is really their legacy. It is not clear that these were ever built for the poor.

However, it has to be said that the prices are ridiculous. R150 for a non-AC room is absurd. It costs more to eat on the train. It can easily be scaled up by five or even ten times, but there has to be some maintenance. I have not been in one in 45 years or so, but I wonder if the linens are ever changed.

The reason I am wanting a retiring room is because the Shatabdi arrives very late at NJP, and the town is not reputed for good places to stay. Hopefully, the retiring room is a safe option which does not involve leaving the station.

Btw, are toilets clean enough in retiring rooms? Are they ever cleaned?

Last year, I used the Ginger Hotel -- this is the joint venture with IRCTC and the Taj group -- in NDLS, and the price was R2000 (no-AC) or something like that but there was no maintenance worth the name. Which was a disappointment. (Additionally, I used a particular CC only there and nowhere else, and a month later, found the number sold to someone who tried using it some place in Pennsylvania. The CC company's fraud detection unit picked the transaction and cancelled the card so no major damage was done but interesting.)
#10 Jun 13th, 2018, 15:36
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I guess it was the very low cost of the retiring rooms that gave me the impression they were sort of intended for the poor. We visited Kanyakamari not long after the rail link was built, and used the newish retirement rooms at that time, which was a nice experience.

Interestingly, I have also used the New Delhi Ginger hotel, about 5 or 6 years ago, and found it not too bad at that time. I believe that the New Delhi hotel is the only one that has links to IRCTC?

We used a Ginger hotel in Mangalore also, and found that was quite well run. Most Ginger brand hotels seem to be built on out of town business parks, so not quite so convenient for the average tourist.

I like how Indian businesses use slightly modified western names, such as Hillton Hotel, I remember seeing a tiny little electrical shop in 1984, called something like "Skylab Electrical Repairs" !

Glad your bank spotted the credit card issue, it only takes one bad employee to tarnish a brand forever in our minds.

Ed.
#11 Jun 14th, 2018, 05:13
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Aha! My whining at RazorPay and IRCTC had results. They must have fixed whatever the issue was with international credit cards (I asked them to do so specifically because the RazorPay response did not make sense) and I was able to book the last retiring room (non-AC) in the sense that my credit card went through and the booking is confirmed. So, woohooo!!

However, I have a new worry. I have booked using my PNR for the next day's travel (27th June) from 26th June 20:00 to 27th June 20:00 (the train leaves at 08:30). Because I got this booking, I have since booked my Shatabdi tickets which arrives at 22:30 from HWH if things are on time.

The reservation for the retiring room is at 20:00. Clearly, I can not make it. I wonder what happens then. Does my retiring room reservation get cancelled and given to somebody else?

Here are the terms and conditions:
Quote:

Terms & Conditions
1. Retiring Room booking is only allowed for valid and confirmed/RAC PNR Nos.
2. A room/bed can be booked for minimum 12hrs and maximum 48hrs.
3. Only one booking can be made on the source and destination for a PNR number.
4. Advance booking can be done as per Advance Reservation periods of PRS tickets
5. Retiring Room booking is subject to availability on desired location.
6. Booking locations are limited and available on major stations.
7. You must be minimum 12 yrs to check in to Retiring Room.
8. Failure to check in to the Railways Retiring Room will attract the full cost of stay
9. In case of increase in tariff, the customer is liable to pay the difference.
10. Guests are solely responsible for their own valuables & belonging.
11. Person making booking is fully responsible & liable to pay any damage incurred to the Retiring Room whatsoever during the time of use of Retiring Room's property.
12. Accommodation will be provided in following manner
a. For one passengers one Single Bed Room or One Double Bed Room or One Bed in Dormitory can be can be allocated.
b. For two passengers One Double Bed Room or Two Bed in Dormitory can be allocated.
c. For three passengers (one Double Bed Room + One Single Bed Room) or Three Bed in Dormitory can be
allocated.
d. For four passengers Two Double Bed Room or Four bed in Dormitory can be allocated.
e. For five passengers Two Double Bed Room or Five bed in Dormitory can be allocated.
f. For Six passengers Two Double Bed Room or Six bed in Dormitory can be allocated.
13. Cancellation /Amendment Policy
a. Deduction of 10% on cancellation in advance of 48 hrs of the day of occupation.
b. Deduction of 50% on cancellation within a period of less than 48 hrs to the day o f occupation.
c. Deduction of 100% on cancellation on the day of occupation.
d. If more than one room/dormitory is booked and cancellation i s being done for few room/dormitory then
cancellation rule a, b and c will be applicable for room/dormitory as per case.
e. Passenger wise cancellation is not allowed, only Room/Bed wise cancellation is allowed.
14. Auto Cancellation
In case of full cancellation of PRS ticket against which retiring room is already booked then Retiring
room bookings would get cancelled automatically within 96 hours of Check-in time as per cancellation.
15. GST Not relevant.
16. Extra Charge @ 25% will be levied as per below conditions:
If a room is being booked in single transaction for more than 24 hrs then second and so on assumes as
extension of booking of first slot and 25% extra tariff of the second slot and so on will be charged.
17. IRCTC Service Charge of Rs.20/- upto 24hrs for a Retiring Room and Rs.10/- upto 24hrs for a
Dormitory Bed and of Rs.40/- from 24hrs to 48hrs for a Retiring Room and Rs.20/- from 24hrs to 48 hrs
for a Dormitory Bed.Service charges levied is not refundable.
18. Proof of Identity details entered during booking should be matched with the Identity shown at the
time of check in , in case It will not match customer would not be allowed to avail the service.
19. Late check-in is allowed upto 1 hour after arrival of the train.
20. The facility available in retiring room may vary from station to station.
21. The complaint regarding air conditioning, room, or other facility need t o be verified by station
manager for the process of refund.
22. Customer must carry voucher of retiring room booking while check-in.
From here, I can see that late check-in is allowed upto 1 hour after arrival of the train. But as far as the retiring room reservation goes, I am not taking any train into NJP (in the sense that it is not in the record) because it was made on the departing station as per the PNR.

I guess I am most concerned about the room being given to somebody else because of a so-called no-show.

I have considered canceling the room and then hope that the INternational Credit card booking facility still works on IRCTC Tourism and try to book the room again on the Shatabdi PNR. But I am concerned that I might lose the room for good and also that the room may not be immediately available for booking after cancellation.

Am I right to worry? Is there anything I can do to ensure that the room stays till I arrive at NJP on 26th June night? I can't see how to add the Shatabdi PNR to the existing PNR.

Thanks!

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