IRCTC to spend Rs 90-100 cr on upgradation and space-selling

From food and online tickets at present, to books, footwear and mobile phones in future – the Indian Railways Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) plans to spread its wings far and wide.

“We are discussing with existing firms in the e-commerce space to thrash out the details. This will help us monetise our registered user base of over two crore,” IRCTC Managing Director R.K. Tandon told Business Line.

The Railway Ministry’s arm, which may also start selling furnishings and electronics, will plan out online shopping activity in a manner which ensures that online ticketing traffic does not get affected, Tandon said.

“Even now, our system capacity is free during the large part of the day, barring peak hours. And now that we will invest in further upgrading the IT infrastructure, we would like to increase asset utilisation to earn more revenue on the same costs,” he added.

To enter the online retail space, IRCTC is following the white-label model, which basically means back-end jobs will be outsourced to another firm, while the front-end ones will be owned by IRCTC. This is the same model that it followed when it diversified into hotel booking and flight ticket booking services.

Now, it has invited qualifying bids from companies in the e-commerce space for building and managing the platform.

Broadly, the proposal is that IRCTC will pay the players different levels of commission based on the total value of sales achieved on the website. The commission will go down once sales value goes up.

In a related move, IRCTC plans to spend Rs 90-100 crore to increase transaction capacity of its website, said Tandon.

Taking note of the delays in booking train tickets online at IRCTC’s website, Railway Minister, Pawan Bansal had announced that by this year-end, the capacity will be upgraded to support 72,000 tickets a minute, from the current level of 2,000 tickets a minute. The upgradation will also support 1.2 lakh simultaneous transactions, thrice the current capacity.

http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/todays-paper/tp-oncampus/irctc-to-spend-rs-90100-cr-on-upgradation-and-spaceselling/article4482658.ece

Advertisements

Now book rail tickets using your mobile phones

Customers of State Bank of India will be able to pay for online train bookings through mobile banking using the Interbank Mobile Payment System (IMPS) that is available to all depositors. After selecting their tickets on the IRCTC(Indin railway catering ant tourism corporation limited) website, customers will be given an option to pay through mobile banking in addition to internet banking and through card.

SBI customers can then enter their mobile number, the mobile money id and one time password which can be generated through their mobile phone.

Until now customers could pay for online booking only if they had internet banking or if they possessed a payment card. An SBI official said that the bank expects the Interbank Mobile Payment System gain in popularity as a payment mechanism and expects the volume of transactions to growth because of the convenience and security it offers.

IMPS is a remittance facility that was launched by National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) in 2010. This service offers round-the-clock interbank electronic fund transfer through mobile, internet or ATM. The facility is provided by NPCI through its existing switch which is currently handling more than 7 – 8 million ATM transactions on a daily basis.

Today, there are 50 Banks integrated to this service and with RBI permitting co-operatives and RRB’s to join this platform, many more are expected to join in coming months. Although banks have been registering a large number of their customers for mobile banking awareness of this facility is still low and transactions are yet to pick up. According to data released by NPCI the month of June saw 34.37 lakh mobile banking transactions involving a value of Rs 306 crore.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/mumbai/Now-book-rail-tickets-using-your-mobile-phones/articleshow/15340740.cms

IRCTC launches special tour packages

Indian Railways Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) on Wednesday announced two special tour packages — Dakshin Darshan covering Goa and south India and Uttar Darshan covering tourists distinations in north India.

“Both the packages will be of nine nights and 10 days. Dakshin Darshan will start on August 7 from Ahmedabad and Uttar Darshan will start on August 22 from Pune,” said Rahul Himalian, additional general manager of IRCTC.

Both packages have two options for travellers — Standard (sleeper class) and Comfort (3AC).

For Dakshin Darshan, the cost for Standard option is Rs 12,649 per person. For Comfort option, it is Rs 18,499 per person. The comprehensive tour package includes train journey by sleeper or 3AC class, hotel or dharamshala accommodation, road transportation, meals, sightseeing, tour escorts and security arrangement. The train will cover cultural, heritage and pilgrimage destinations of Goa, Tirupati, Rameshwaram, Madurai, Thiruvananthapuram, Kanyakumari and Kovalam, said Himalian.

For Uttar Darshan, the cost of the Standard option is Rs 11,499 per person and Comfort option is Rs 17,049 per person. The train will cover cultural, heritage and pilgrimage destinations such as Mathura, Agra, Haridwar, Amritsar and Vaishnodevi.

The boarding points for Dakshin Darshan are Kalyan and Pune and for Uttar Darshan, Ahmedabad, Kalyan and Pune.

Tourists can book their ticket either online at http://www.railtourismindia.com or by sending an email to tourismwz@irctc.com. People can also contact IRCTC offices at respective centres.

http://www.indianexpress.com/news/irctc-launches-special-tour-packages/979444/

Published in: on July 28, 2012 at 6:58 am  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , ,

Record booking of 4.95 lakh e-tickets on July 13

Nearly five lakh train tickets were booked through the IRCTC’s e-ticketing website on July 13, a record single-day booking.

The website has achieved a record booking of 4.95 lakh e-tickets involving more than nine lakh passengers on last Friday, a senior IRCTC official said.

The IRCTC had recorded an average of 4.47 lakh e-tickets per day since the new timing for Tatkal tickets came into force on July 10 as against the 3.60 lakh average earlier.

Recently, Railways and Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation have taken a slew of measures to help genuine customers to get tickets and to prevent unauthorised persons from booking them.

The opening timing of booking advance reservation period and Tatkal tickets have been segregated to 8 AM and 10 AM, respectively. Agents have been barred from booking tickets during initial two hours after the opening of counters and on the internet.

In order to improve the availability of website during the initial peak hours, IRCTC has augmented the infrastructure capacity including hardware, software and internet bandwidth.

With the implementation of above measures, the earlier abnormal pressure on the website has been reduced to a great extent, the official said.

http://www.business-standard.com/generalnews/news/record-booking495-lakh-e-ticketsjuly-13/34731/

Published in: on July 21, 2012 at 4:09 pm  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , , ,

IRCTC site to book 1.5 lakh more tickets per day

To put an end to e-ticketing woes, the ministry of railways has decided to increase the capacity of its ticket booking website. E-ticketing has been marred by bandwidth congestion, server errors and transaction failures of late. To do away with the glitches, Railways has initiated steps to augment e-ticket handling capacity of its website.

After the increase of the bandwidth, the IRCTC website will now book at least 1.5 lakh e-tickets more than the number it books right now. Senior officials at the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC), New Delhi, said after the ‘bandwidth enhancement’ the website will book at least 5 lakh e-tickets per day against 3.5 lakh bookings at present. This will further be enhanced to allow 8 lakh bookings in a day.

Passengers who log on to website for quick and convenient ticket booking, face a tough time after the site hangs in the mid of the transaction.

One might have completed the entire booking process but then the payment takes hours. And, each time the site keeps telling not to push the ‘back’ or ‘refresh’ button, making one sit glued to the site.

In other cases, the site might show the session as expired and ask one to re-login every two minutes. The multitude of website users can give numerous reasons for e-ticketing being a cumbersome and a tiring process. IRCTC, on the other hand, says it’s only one problem which has hit the site hard and that is “too many users logging at the same time.” To do away with the passengers’ woes, Railways will take short-term and long-term measures to increase the capacity of the website. “We might come up with software specifications in a day or two,” said sources in IRCTC, New Delhi. As part of the short-term measure, website capacity will be enhanced to allow 5 lakh bookings in a day, in about four months’ time.

The capacity will further be increased to about 8 lakh bookings per day in the long term. The IRCTC is jointly working with the Centre for Rail Information System (CRIS) to almost double the existing capacity and address online booking issues.

IRCTC, in the past too, had taken steps to make e-ticketing convenient. Apart from installing high capacity database servers, net bandwidth was hiked from 344 mbps to 450 mbps. The site crashes more frequently ahead of summer vacations and festival seasons.

http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2012-07-05/lucknow/32551092_1_irctc-site-irctc-website-e-ticketing

Published in: on July 7, 2012 at 8:24 am  Comments (1)  
Tags:

IRCTC offers fresh religious tour packages this summer

After the success of Jaipur to Goa tour package organized by the Indian Railway Catering and Travel Corporation (IRCTC) in April, the organization is once again offering lucrative packages for those who wish to visit Shirdi, Mahakaleshwar, Omkareshwar and other pilgrim sites starting from the first week of May.

The special ‘Bharat Darshan’ train will start from Jaipur on May 2. The package includes everything like train journey, boarding, site seeing and three times meals.

About the Bharat Darshan trains departing from Jaipur, an official with the IRCTC said on Wednesday: “The train departing on May 2 would take the passengers to Dwarka and Somnath. It is a 7-day package which costs Rs 3,591 per passenger and includes site seeing of the temples, stay in dharamshala, to and fro journey and three times meals.”

The next train will have an 11-day package and will take the passengers to Tirupati, Shirdi, Omkareshwar and Mahakaleshwar. “This too would have the same facilities and the charges would be Rs 5,672 per passenger,” the official added.

Meanwhile, for the veterans eyeing the seven dhams of pilgrimage, there is a 12-day package by the corporation. “It would be a trip to Omkareshwar, Mahakaleshwar, Dwarka, Somnath, Trimbakeshwar, Grishneshwar and one other,” the official said.

IRCTC had introduced a package for Jaipur to Goa in April which has been a hit and now they believe that ‘pilgrimage package’ would also fruitful.

Meanwhile, the tour operators are giving various lucrative packages to the hill stations including Kullu Manali, Shimla and others.

http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2012-05-01/jaipur/31526594_1_special-bharat-darshan-train-irctc-package

IRCTC to launch special 7-day tour to Kathmandu

The Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) is mulling to run a special train from Indore to Nepal to facilitate the people from the state to visit famous Pashupatinath temple. The train will start from Indore and halt at Raxaul in Bihar from where the passengers would be taken by road to Kathmandu by private operators.

Achyut Singh, regional manager IRCTC talking to TOI said, “The special train to Nepal would be flagged off from Indore tentatively around Independence Day. From Raxaul, which is about 100 kms from Kathmandu, private bus operators would take care of the passengers till Kathmandu.”

http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2012-04-24/bhopal/31391938_1_special-train-pashupatinath-temple-kathmandu

IRCTC targeting 750000 bookings a day by 2015

Indian Railways Tourism and Catering Corporation, which runs Indian Railways’ online ticket reservation site IRCTC.co.in has claimed that the portal makes 360,000 to 370,000 bookings at present, compared to 40,000 bookings in 2008. IRCTC is now targeting 750,000 bookings a day by 2015. To maintain its lead position in the domestic travel booking space, it wants to make the portal a one-stop shop for planning tours and introduce innovative facilities such as branded card and booking through SMS.

IRCTC is also taking seat blocks from airlines to be marketed and sold directly through its portal. “We will expand our airline ticket booking operations by offering corporate travel and also provide a complete package. This would be a major thrust area for us now,” said Rakesh Tandon, managing director, IRCTC.

The company owned by the Indian Railways became an agent of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) in 2010. “Initially, when you enter a market, you tie up with the existing player or agency. Now, we are directly tying up with the airlines. We have already tied up with Air India and Jet Airways,” Tandon said.

The ticketing business constitutes 40 per cent to the company’s total revenue of Rs 550 crore. One of the major initiatives in reaching the goal would be to introduce booking through SMSes and rolling out deposit scheme for frequent travelers. With the scheme, IRCTC aims to reduce the payment time by half.

Currently, while booking tickets, payment transaction takes 1.5 to 2.5 minutes. According to Tandon, failure rate at the transaction stage is about 20-25 per cent. And in case of certain banks it is as high as 40 per cent due to lack of state-of-the-art arrangement with them.

IRCTC ties up with airlines for direct bookings

After clocking the highest-ever booking of 450,000 daily earlier this year, the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation is tying up with airlines to sell air tickets through its portal.

Though it started booking airline tickets last year, albeit in a small way, it is now taking seat blocks from airlines to be marketed and sold through its portal. “We will expand our airline ticket booking operations by offering corporate travel and also provide a complete package. This would be a major thrust area for us now,” said Rakesh Tandon, managing director.

To maintain its lead position in the domestic travel booking space, it wants to make the portal a one-stop shop for planning tours and introduce innovative facilities such as branded card and booking through SMS.

The company owned by the Indian Railways became an agent of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) more than a year ago. “Initially, when you enter a market, you tie up with the existing player or agency. Now, we are directly tying up with the airlines. We have already tied up with Air India and Jet Airways,” he said.

On an average, the IRCTC portal makes 360,000 to 370,000 bookings at present compared to 40,000 bookings in 2008. “We are targeting 750,000 bookings a day by 2015,” said Tandon.

The ticketing business constitutes 40 per cent to the company’s total revenue of Rs 550 crore. One of the major initiatives in reaching the goal would be to introduce booking through SMSes and rolling out deposit scheme for frequent travellers. With the scheme, IRCTC aims to reduce the payment time by half.

Currently, while booking tickets, payment transaction takes 1.5 to 2.5 minutes. According to Tandon, failure rate at the transaction stage is about 20-25 per cent. And in case of certain banks it is as high as 40 per cent due to lack of state-of-the-art arrangement with them.

“This (the SMS service) should be possible through normal mobiles as well. If we can do that, it would transform the ticketing format,” said Tandon.

The next step would be to introduce reservation through voice recognition. This would involve dialling a number and giving details and a particular pin number. “We are still working on this. We have also had discussions with Internet & Mobile Association of India,” he said.

Among other issues that need to be worked out are the types of platforms required and the kind of interactions needed. Besides, the company is looking at how the flow of money would be and what regulatory norms would be applicable in such transactions.

http://www.business-standard.com/india/news/irctc-ties-upairlines-for-direct-bookings/470515/

Published in: on April 8, 2012 at 8:22 am  Leave a Comment  
Tags:

Railways to take over management of book stalls from IRCTC

In yet another blow, the railways have decided to snatch one more function from Indian Railways Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) – take over management of book stalls operational on station platforms. The fresh move may further clip the wings of railways PSU, which had lost its primary job of providing catering services in trains and stations.

The bookstalls will now be managed by zonal railways which will leave the PSU with the task of booking online tickets only. “The railways have decided that the management and operation of bookstalls handed over to IRCTC in 2007 will be taken back on ‘as is where is basis’,” said a senior official.

The railway PSU was given the task in 2007 to infuse professionalism in management and operations of bookstalls and to put a check on sale of objectionable and banned books which were allegedly placed on the shelves of the stalls at the platforms.

The corporation was supposed to manage the stalls and provide standard books to the passengers and visitors at the stations. IRCTC and railways were sharing the license fee in the ratio of 75:25 respectively. The U-turn in railways’ policy indicates that IRCTC, which felled out of favour of Mamata Banerjee in her second inning as railway minister, continue to loose one by one function assigned when it was formed.

As minister, Banerjee snatched IRCTC’s major function – catering services in trains and stations during her tenure. Though, IRCTC was earning Rs 2.5 crore from the license fee, the move left many surprised.

http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2012-04-04/india/31287276_1_irctc-zonal-railways-catering-services