Pet parents always baulked at taking their four-legged, furry companions on trains in India. They have had to contend with long queues at the parcel booking counters, where they have to book tickets for their pets, and ensure vet travel clearances and vaccination documents are made available. All of which made travelling with a pet dog or cat a tedious proposition.
This is all set to change as Railway Ministry has recently proposed to set up an online ticket booking facility for pet dogs and cats.
What’s the proposed new rule?
Currently, pet parents have to book 1st class AC cabins or coupes for their pet, which is done at the parcel booking counters on railway platforms three hours before travel. They can also book for their pets locked in a cage or box in the second class luggage and brake van.
But now, a train passenger can easily book AC-1 coupes on trains from home to take their pets along on their journey.
According to media reports, the Railway Ministry approached the CRIS (Centre for Railway Information Systems) to develop a software that can allow passengers to book tickets for pets through the IRCTC website. Also, under this new proposal, the Train Ticket Examiner (TTE) has been given the power to book pets on the train.
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If the pet parents happen to be not traveling in AC-1, they need to contact the TTE, who will have the authority to book the pets in the Seating cum Luggage Rake (SLR) coach. And, whenever the train stops at a station, the pet parents can walk over and provide water and food to the pets.
Conditions for booking animal tickets online:
- The passenger should have a confirmed ticket
- No refund will be available if the passenger cancels the ticket
- No pet ticket refund will be given if the train is cancelled or delayed by more than three hours. Just the passenger’s ticket will be refunded
- Big animals such as horses, cows, buffaloes, etc., are booked and transported in goods trains only
- The Railways is not responsible for any damage to animals
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Procedure for pet owners to book train tickets
- Book your ticket online and get a photocopy
- Ensure your pet has all the required vaccinations and the certificates are available with you
- Get a fitness certificate from the vet 24-48 hours before departure and carry the relevant IDs
- Lastly, bring water, food and a toy to keep your pet comfortable and entertained during the journey
IRCTC guidelines for pet travel
- The pet has to be brought to the luggage office at least three hours before the train’s departure for booking, even if you have a PRS ticket or an online ticket from IRCTC.
- Applicable baggage fees have to be paid if you want to travel AC First Class or First Class coupe with your pet.
- Dogs are not allowed in AC 2 tier, AC 3 tier, AC Chair Car, Sleeper Class, or Second-Class compartments.
- The pet can be transferred to the guard in the SLR trolley if co-passengers raise a fuss.
- A certificate from a veterinarian specifying the breed, colour, and gender of your dog must be provided for booking.
- Puppies can be carried in a basket in any accommodation class.