If you have pulled your hair out while booking train tickets from the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation’ (IRCTC) e-ticketing website, the railway budget presented yesterday has some good news for you. Taking note of the accessibility issues facing the website, the Union Railway Minister PK Bansal has decided to revamp the existing system to make it more efficient.
Bansal, during his budget speech, said that by the end of calendar year, the railways would put in place a “Next Generation e-ticketing system that would bring about a paradigm shift in Internet rail ticketing by significantly improving the end user experience in respect of ease of use, response time, as well as capacity.” Acknowledging that prospective buyers do face a lot of inconvenience while trying to book tickets online via IRCTC, the minister said he had heard a lot of complaints about how it was taking people a long time to book a ticket.
The proposed overhaul would reduce the technical glitches from the website, which is accessed by over 4.3 lakh users across the country daily. He also said that the new system would ensure that the website will allow purchase of 7,200 tickets per minute as compared to 2,000 users that it currently supports. “It will also enable 1 lakh simultaneous users at a time compared to the current 20,000 users with capability to easily scale up, as demand increases in future,” said Bansal.
Apart from this, the minister has ensured that they are taking steps to curtail malpractices while booking reserved and tatkal tickets. Some of these measures to be introduced include mandatory carrying of ID cards by passengers with reserved tickets, in case of tatkal: reduction of advance reservation period to one day, issue of tickets only on production of ID proof at PRS counters, issue of only one tatkal ticket per train per day to web service agents, internet ticketing from 12.30 am to 11.30 pm and e-ticketing through mobile phones. Meanwhile, blaming the limited number of tickets available while the demand is huge which gives rise to frequent complaints, Rakesh Tandon, managing director, IRCTC, said, “On some days, the site experiences a huge rush. The new system will take care of the increasing load.”