Railways to launch speedier ticketing portal

Failed transactions during online booking of train tickets would be a thing of the past now as the Indian Railways is working on a brand new ticketing website that promises to be three times faster than the existing IRCTC ticketing portal.

The larger plan is to phase out the present IRCTC site. And if all goes well, the new portal would start functioning by November, according to officials.

In a step towards setting up a new portal, its Beta version (development stage) would be available on the http://www.irctc. co.in. The users wanting a new booking experience different from the present Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) site can access it.

“When the user reaches the home page of the IRCTC website, he/she will have two options- one will be the regular website and another link that will invite the user to ‘’try out a new experience’’,” said an official.

Being developed by Centre for Railway I nformation Systems (CRIS)-the IT wing of Indian Railways, this new site is based on a new programming. In this, a separate journey planning would be available from the ticket booking stage so as to ease out the booking process.

From the existing 2,000 tickets per minute, the idea is to create a system that would enable the website to book a minimum 7,000 tickets per minute by using a massive server and firewall augmentation.

“The aim is to achieve user delight through technology solutions in Railways,” he said.

It’s worth mentioning that IRCTC-Indian Railways only electronically booking portal powered by CRIS books nearly five lakh ticket per day, making it the largest e-commerce venture, not only in the country but also globally. Recently CRIS signed a pact with its German counterpart DB Systel that will collaborate in technology transfer for Indian Railway’s IT upgrade.


Railways to launch a faster ticketing site by November

There is something to cheer about for Railway users who have been facing long delays and failed transactions while trying to book tickets. The Railways is working on a brand new website that is three times faster. The plan is phase out the present IRCTC site and get the new one up and running in November.

For the time being, the new site will have a Beta version (development stage) bringing in users only if they want a booking experience different from the present IRCTC site. So, when the user reaches the home page of http://www.irctc.co.in, it will give two options: one will be the regular website and another link that will invite the user to “try out a new experience”.

According to Sunil Kumar, MD of Centre for Railway Information Systems (CRIS), the IT arm of the national carrier, the new site is based on a new programming. “In it, we will separate journey planning from the part that involves ticket booking so that much of the information required for planning the journey can be accessed smoothly without hogging the resources needed to actually book the ticket,” Kumar said.

The website will “cache” info like train timings and other parameters electronically sought by every user to decide on a train he wants to book. This will segregate the traffic of users from those who actually go ahead with the booking.

During Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s recent visit to Berlin, CRIS signed a pact with its German counterpart DB Systel which will collaborate in technology transfer for Indian Railway’s IT upgrade.

From 2,000 tickets per minute, the CRIS aims to create a system that can be book 7,000 tickets per minute by using massive server and firewall augmentation.

“The aim right now is to achieve user delight through technology solutions in Railways,” he said. Railway’s electronic-ticket booking business, through the IRCTC website (powered by CRIS), caters to up to five lakh ticket bookings per day, making it the largest e-commerce venture in the country and one of the largest in the world.


Next generation e-ticketing system to ease congestion on IRCTC website

Indian Railways is aware of the problems of the IRCTC website, and will create a Next generation e-ticketing system by end of this year, Railway Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal said.

Noting that congestion on the IRCTC website causes inordinate delay in accessing the system for e-ticketing, Bansal announced that by the end of this calendar year railways will put in place a next generation e-ticketing system. “This will bring about a paradigm shift in internet rail ticketing by significantly improving the end user experience with respect to ease of use, response time as well as capacity,” he said.

The system shall be able to support 7200 tickets per minute as against 2000 tickets per minute today, he added. Bansal further went on to say that the system will support 1,20,000 simultaneous users at any point in time against the present capacity of 40,000 users. It will have the capability to easily scale up as demand increases in future. “The system will make use of advance fraud control and security management tools thereby further improving transparency in sale of tickets,” Bansal explained.

“I plan to roll out a more efficient and people sensitive railway service system. Some of the measures initiated or put are extending availability of the facility of internet booking from 12:30 AM to 11:30 PM, making e-ticketing possible through mobile phones,” Bansal said in his maiden railway budget speech.

“As a follow up to overwhelming response to the Indian Railways website and integrated train inquiry service under 193, a project of SMS alerts to passengers providing updates on reservation status is being rolled out shortly,” he added.

Bansal said that there will be a provision of covering large number of trains under real time information system whereby rail users will be able to access information through nominated websites and mobile phones.


Sites located for executive lounges at Charbagh station

There is progress in the development of the first executive lounge planned at Charbagh railway station. The sites have been identified for the two lounges to come up at both Charbagh and Lucknow Junction (LJn) station for passengers who visit the city for official purpose and do not have to stay for longer than a few hours. The facility can be used also by those who have to wait at the station to board the train to their next destination.

The lounge will be developed by the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC). Zonal railways have to identify locations for building the lounge and hand it over to IRCTC for construction. The main station has identified a location close to platform no. 1. “It is yet to be handed over to us,” said Manoj Sinha, chief regional manager, IRCTC, Lucknow. On the other hand, things are under process at LJn. The North Eastern Railway (NER) has identified the site for developing the lounge in the new hall which has been constructed at LJn.

An executive lounge will not only provide a comfortable stay, but also free refreshments and a meal. A passenger can book a lounge for four hours and pay Rs 300 as entry charge. A facility of advance booking will be extended to people on IRCTC website, once the lounge comes into existence. It will be of much use to passengers on a break-journey. There might be a facility to book it in advance too. Once the lounge comes up, IRCTC will decide on other facilities that can be provided at the place.

The facilities at the lounge would include a reclining sofa or a couch, free meal-vegetarian or non-vegetarian-snacks, drinks and beverages, Internet surfing, magazines and newspapers. The round-the-clock lounge will also have a gift (bouquets, etc) corner, medicine counter and dial-a-taxi service. But, all these facilities will be on-payment. “It’s because of the range of facilities that we wish to provide at the lounge that at least 3,000 sq ft space will be required to build it,” said the official.

IRCTC has decided to set up executive lounge in Lucknow, Gorakhpur, Varanasi, Kathgodam and Allahabad. After identification of sites for developing the lounge, the bidding process will begin once permission from the competent authority (General Manager) is granted. IRCTC has allowed tendering in Delhi and Lucknow.


Published in: on December 22, 2012 at 8:51 am  Leave a Comment  
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Railways scrap plan to launch own ticketing site

After months of trials, Railways has decided against creating a new e-ticketing website and will instead revamp the existing IRCTC website portal with more user-friendly applications.

“There were series of trials for launching a new e-ticketing site and in fact the new site was operational for a few days also. But we have to stop it as there are several functional problems,” said a senior Railway Ministry official involved with the online ticketing project.

Two years back, Railways had decided to sell e-tickets directly from its own website instead of using IRCTC portal to sell train tickets in the wake of increasing demand of online tickets and large-scale complaints against IRCTC website.

Two years back, Railways had decided to sell e-tickets directly from its own website instead of using IRCTC portal.

The commission rate was also supposed to be Rs 10 per online ticket as against Rs 20 charged by Railways subsidiary IRCTC at present.

“Now we have decided not to have a separate e-ticketing site. But the existing IRCTC site will be completely revamped with new interface and front-end application,” he said.

About the proposed low commission rate, the official said it will remain same at Rs 20.

Centre for Railway Information System (CRIS), the IT arm of Railways, is developing software and application code for the IRCTC site. The exercise is estimated to cost Rs 80 crore which IRCTC will bear.

“The intellectual property right of the new site will remain with Railways,” the official said.

Currently, about 4.5 lakh ticket bookings, which is about 40 per cent of total bookings, are done through IRCTC website.

With the growing demand for e-tickets, Railways have decided to make the new IRCTC site capable of daily handling eight lakh online tickets.

IRCTC, CRIS and the IT department of Railway are working in coordination on the project and the new portal with several passenger-friendly features for instant ticketing will be launched shortly, the official said.


Increased Accessibility to IRCTC Website

In a significant initiative to remove the difficulties faced by ordinary common users in accessing the IRCTC website for booking Tatkal tickets and ordinary tickets over internet in the first hour of the booking on the opening day, the Ministry of Railways has decided to bar travel agents, web-service agents/web agents of IRCTC from accessing the website during that period.

Under this decision, which is expected to provide increased accessibility of the IRCTC website to the ordinary users, following instructions have come into operation:-

a) Travel agents/web-services agents/web agents of IRCTC will not be given access to Tatkal booking, through e-ticketing on all days between 8 A.M. to 9 A.M.

b) Travel agents/web-services agents/web agents of IRCTC will not be given access, through e-ticketing, to trains defined in the system on their respective opening day of Advance Reservation Period (ARP), between 8 A.M. to 9 A.M.

This passenger friendly measure comes in the wake of a large number of complaints regarding IRCTC website not becoming accessible to common users at the time of the commencement of the Railway reservation booking in the morning, making it difficult to book e-ticket and Tatkal on-line.

In addition, a drive has also been launched for a period of one fortnight at all major reservation offices to conduct special checks between 7.30 A.M. to 9 A.M. to prevent touts/unscrupulous elements from cornering the seats/berths in the first hour of the opening day of the advance reservation period.

The above measures have been taken to take care of the interests of the ordinary passengers in respect of ticket booking both on-line as well as at the counters and to make sure that berths/seats are not cornered by the touts/unscrupulous elements.



Published in: on July 17, 2010 at 1:22 pm  Leave a Comment  
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