SMS to book railway tickets from July 1

The Indian Railways will launch a pilot project of ticketing through non-Internet-based mobile phones from July 1, 2013.

In a release, the railway authorities said the objective was to facilitate anywhere, anytime and hassle-free booking of tickets.

To be launched by Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC), the initiative will enable people using non-Internet based mobile phones to easily access railway ticketing services through SMS/IVRS/USSD and the scheme is user-friendly, secure and also eco-friendly, as no printout is required.

There will be a number (to be announced in due course) to which the SMS can be sent and there will be no need of Internet for booking tickets, making payment or cancelling tickets.

“One has to register the mobile number with IRCTC as well as one’s bank. The bank will provide MMID (mobile money identifier) and OTP (one-time password) for authorisation of the payment. The passenger has to type the train number, destination, journey date, class and passenger details like name, age and gender on the SMS box. The sender will receive a transaction ID and then the customer can make the payment by way of sending another SMS by typing PAY followed by the transaction ID, MMID as received from the bank and the password.”“On successful booking of the ticket, a message will be sent to the user by the IRCTC which will suffice as the valid authority to travel along with the photo ID in original.

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Ordinary mobile phones without Internet can be used to book tickets

Making payment for the ticket and cancellation also will be possible through SMS service

http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-national/sms-to-book-railway-tickets-from-july-1/article4851843.ece

Platform tickets may be cost R 100 soon

In a move aimed at decongesting railway stations the Central Railway is mulling increasing the price of platform tickets. The railway authorities believe that hiking the price will discourage people from loitering around and use railway platforms as meeting spots, which congests already busy platforms and the move will ensure better security at platforms.

According to a Central Railway official, there is no open space in the city that offers two hours to loiter around for only Rs five. The official citing the 26/11 attacks said that security agencies also suggested that people who do not travel should not be allowed inside railway premises. It was later decided that platform tickets will be increased. Another Central Railway staff added platform tickets should be revised to a price of Rs 100.

It was learnt that officials believe public would think twice before loitering around in platform premises if platform tickets are priced high.

http://daily.bhaskar.com/article/MAH-MUM-mumbai-central-railway-may-increase-platform-tickets-prices-to-rs-100-soon-4256320-NOR.html

A railway hub looks to the future

As a mass transport system it has hardly any comparable peers either in terms of scale of operations or economy. The comfort it offers, despite the occasional hassles, for long distance journey is unmatched. With a dedicated pathway it is also the best bet for inter-city travel. Given these benefits, it is hardly surprising that rail connectivity is reckoned to be an imperative for the economic and commercial growth of a place and Mysore is no different.

As the divisional headquarters, Mysore is the hub of railway operations over a vast swathe of area called the old Mysore region which was administered by the erstwhile Maharajas of Mysore. In addition, parts of central Karnataka are also within the jurisdiction of the division. Given its importance it is no wonder that the Railways has acquired overwhelming importance in the scheme of overall growth and development of the Mysore region.

This is also evident in the annual statistics released by the authorities and there is a year-on-year growth both in terms of the number of passengers transported as also in the revenue earned. And Mysore, which is at the centre of this hub, is not immune from the growth pressures either. The city railway station, which hardly operated two dozen trains till recent times, has emerged as a major operational hub and currently handles more than 40 pairs of trains daily. The number of passengers being handled at the station borders around 30,000 per day and shoots up to 50,000-60,000 during peak tourism and Dasara season.

Catalysts

The railway authorities believe these numbers are bound to register a dramatic increase with the completion of the track doubling work and electrification between Mysore and Bangalore expected to be complete by the middle of next year. For, not only will the travelling time reduce from the current three hours to less than two hours, the number of trains being operated from the city station will also increase. This calls for augmenting the station’s infrastructure and the authorities are gearing up for the change.

While the second entrance is operational, departure of more number of trains from platforms five and six will be planned in future to decongest the main entrance. The number of ticket counters at the second entrance is bound to be increased and Senior Divisional Commercial Manager Anup Dayanand Sadhu told the stakeholders at the 21{+s}{+t}Divisional Railway Users Consultative Committee Meeting held in the city that an additional ticketing counter will be opened once the minimum stipulated number of tickets – as required under the railway rules – are sold by the existing counter.

The existing facilities at the station will increase with the commissioning of the Multi Functional Complex which had been held up due to legal issues pertaining to land use at the Ministry level, and is expected to be resolved soon.

The city railway station will also have escalators for the benefit of passengers while an integrated security system has been proposed for the station in view of its growing importance. The length of the main platforms have been increased to accommodate 24-coach trains and the Divisional Railway Manager Vinod Kumar pointed out that the aim was to make Mysore the originating and terminal station for the New Delhi-bound Karnataka Express which currently originates and terminates at Bangalore.

This necessitates augmenting maintenance lines which is already underway and the city railway station has already created additional pit lines to undertake both primary and secondary maintenance of coaches and rakes, a must for any station dreaming to have long distance trains.

The net impact of these developments is not only improved connectivity to Mysore, but evidence of the growing commercial vibrancy of the city.

It is not surprising that in the recent DURCC meeting, there were demands for more trains from other centres including Hassan, Arsikere, Hubli and Davangere to Mysore and Bangalore. Additional bogies have been sought to be attached to trains to Shimoga while slip coach services has been demanded for providing connectivity to trains going to Mumbai (but the proposal has been turned down by the authorities as the slip coach services are being discontinued by the Railways from the safety point of view and it does not want to take up shunting operations with passengers on board the coaches).

But these are “micro issues” and in the larger context, the importance of railways for Mysore can be stemmed from the fact that it opens up new vistas and connectivity to major commercial hubs like Bangalore, Chennai, Mumbai, Hyderabad and Pune that is a must for the city’s long-term commercial growth and development.

There is also a long-felt need for inter-city super fast express trains connecting Mysore with other major commercial centres in central and north Karnataka including Davangere and Hubli.

R. Krishna Kumar

http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-features/tp-districtplus/a-railway-hub-looks-to-the-future/article4658637.ece

Misuse of return tickets by suburban commuters costs railways dear

The rampant misuse of return tickets by suburban commuters has rattled the railway authorities. On the Mumbai suburban section of both Central and Western railway the return journey tickets are valid for the next day or two days if the next day is a holiday or a Sunday. Although as per the rules, the return journey is to be made only once, commuters often use it twice. For instance if a commuter takes a return journey ticket, he/she uses the same on day one and the next day as well. For the second day, commuters only buy a single journey ticket and uses the previous day’s return journey ticket on the way back. This practice is causing major losses to the railways.

Ticket checkers on duty say they always see many people returning the same day. Again the next day, when they checked , they found the same return journey ticket, checked one day before.

A ticket checker on duty in at a station said, “Many times, I checked commuters and see return ticket and the next day, I saw the person at the same station from where he started travelling, purchasing a single journey ticket.”

In suburban section of Mumbai, daily 4,86,087 commuters buy 2, 39,860 return tickets on Western Railway and while on Central Railway 4,61, 235 commuters purchase 2,33,318 return tickets daily.

In Mumbai suburban section of Western railway, 36.21 lakh commuters travel daily. Out of these 24.76 lakh are season tickets holders. While 10.47 card tickets are sold daily. Per day, total earning is 1.67 crore.

While in suburban section of central railway, 38,02,106 commuters purchase 8, 36,118 tickets. Out of this, 11,49,170 commuters buy 7,91,703 card tickets. As many as 26,52,936 season pass holders purchase 44,415 tickets. Total earning is Rs 1,76,15,742/ per day.

In suburban section of Mumbai, daily 4,86,087 commuters buy 2, 39,860 return tickets on Western Railway and while on Central Railway 4,61, 235 commuters purchase 2,33,318 return tickets daily.

In Mumbai suburban section of Western railway, 36.21 lakh commuters travel daily. Out of these 24.76 lakh are season tickets holders. While 10.47 card tickets are sold daily. Per day, total earning is 1.67 crore.

While in suburban section of central railway, 38,02,106 commuters purchase 8, 36,118 tickets. Out of this, 11,49,170 commuters buy 7,91,703 card tickets. As many as 26,52,936 season pass holders purchase 44,415 tickets. Total earning is Rs 1,76,15,742 per day.

http://www.indianexpress.com/news/misuse-of-return-tickets-by-suburban-commuters-costs-railways-dear/1049801/0

Train food price hike chugs in

The Southern Railway has hiked the rates of food items served on trains and at railway platforms shocking passengers.

The price of most of the food items has shot up by Rs 2 to Rs 10. The prices of food items sold on outlets on the platforms are marginally less, however. The new prices came into effect from Sunday.

While the prices of most food items have been hiked, the railway authorities have maintained status quo as far the prices of tea, coffee and standard meals are concerned. They need the permission of the Railway Board to hike the prices of these items.

The new rate card is applicable for trains in the Southern Railway zone comprising six divisions — Chennai, Salem, Madurai, Thiruvananthapuram, Palakkad and Tiruchirapalli.

The passengers, especially regular passengers, are miffed at the new rate card as it was implemented without prior notice. Also, the new price list is yet to be made available, keeping passengers in the dark on the price of most items.

And there are complaints that some contractors are fleecing passengers taking advantage of the situation.

“The railways could have shown the courtesy of informing passengers about the price hike before implementing it,” said S K Jayakumar, general secretary, All Kerala Railway Passengers’ Association.

The new rates are not acceptable given the quantity and quality of the food served on trains, he added. He also said the association had decided to forward memorandums to the divisional railway manager and Union railway minister expressing discontent over the matter.

According to the railway authorities, the government order on hike in prices came on November 1. But the catering contractors started implementing it only by November 10.

“It is after a gap of six years that the prices of food items have been hiked,” sources said. A railway official in the Thiruvananthapuram division told TOI that they hadn’t been given any instruction on informing passengers about the new rates.

http://epaper.timesofindia.com/Default/Scripting/ArticleWin.asp?From=Archive&Source=Page&Skin=TOINEW&BaseHref=TOIKRKO/2012/11/14&PageLabel=5&EntityId=Ar00500&ViewMode=HTML

Published in: on November 17, 2012 at 8:12 am  Leave a Comment  
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