e-tickets form 98% of online rail reservations

E-tickets accounted for 98 per cent of the total 6.85 crore train tickets, booked online till October-end in the current fiscal.

With e-ticket (electronic ticket) booking facility, the Railways allowed passengers to take a ticket print-out at their end after booking the ticket. The i-ticket (Internet-ticket) facility, introduced by the Railways in 2002-03, allows users to book a ticket through the Internet.

But the ticket print-out is taken by Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) and delivered by post to the passengers.

The Railways — which launched e-tickets in 2005 after about a year of delay since the proposal was envisaged — feared that the e-tickets may be misused. E-tickets have proven to be a hit since their launch. Apart from the sheer ease of taking the print-out at the user’s end without having to wait for a courier delivery, the fact that the service charge for booking e-tickets are cheaper than i-tickets also helped.

Additionally, the Railways has also allowed booking of waitlisted e-tickets and allowed other flexibilities including changing the place of boarding.

As for travel agents, IRCTC has widened the reach of e-tickets by authorising 80 large groups to book e-tickets on behalf of IRCTC. Earlier, IRCTC operated purely on a B2C (business-to-consumer) model, but now it also operates on a B2B (business-to-business) model.

The groups — which provide e-ticket booking services — include makemytrip.com, cleartrip.com, ITZ, onestopshop.in, Ministry of Defence and about 20 State Governments at their kiosks under the e-governance model.

I-tickets are still primarily used by the elderly.