The Indian railways is launching ticket booking services with text messages and other phone based methods on a pilot basis.
The railway’s online ticketing subsidiary, will use sms, interactive voice response (IVR) and unstructured supplementary service data (USSD) based methods to enable ticket booking from July, the government has said.
How SMS Railway Ticket Booking Work?
The ticketing service provider, IRCTC, will have a dedicated number on which an sms can be sent to book tickets from a registered mobile number. The passenger has to type the train number, destination, journey date, class and passenger details like name, age and gender in the text message to book a ticket. After sending the message, a the sender will receive a transaction number which must be used at the time of making a payment.
Paying is easy. The buyer has to send another text message by typing “PAY” followed by the transaction id, the mobile money identifier given by the bank at the time of registering the telephone number and the password.
The buyer will receive a confirmation message and has to travel with a valid photo identification card. Ticket cancellation works in a similar way.
The service, which will go live from July, will not be available between 8 am – 12 pm.
Last week IRCTC launched sms based complaint booking service to receive passenger complaints on hygiene on trains. To improve ticket booking experience by passengers government proposed a major overhaul while presenting railway budget. The idea is to be able to thrice the number of bookings per minute and 6 times the number of simultaneous users. The railways will invest around Rs 100 crores to upgrade its existing infrastructure.
This move by IRCTC is undoubtedly a big leap as it empowers non-Internet savvy citizen to book railway tickets. The big question is: would it be able to weed out pain of 25 million people who wait in queues or in front of computer screens for Tatkal rail ticket? We think it will help.