Online rail booking site goes off track

Jan 26, 2012, 07:44 IST | Shashank Rao

If you thought that your bad luck is preventing you from booking railway tickets online, you aren't the only one.
With lakhs of passengers from all across the country logging on to the Indian Railways Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) website to book tickets online for summer vacation in advance, the e-ticketing system that was introduced to ease the booking process, has now become extremely tedious and time-consuming.

'Nothing works'
Over the last couple of days, travellers have been complaining that the website goes blank even while the bookings are on. "Even though the processing is on in the background, the webpage doesn't move to the next one, and the latest information is never displayed," said Laxman Singh, a resident of Dadar. It's been days since Singh has been trying to book tickets online, but the jammed e-ticketing system just refuses to process his application.

Hung zone: Travellers have been complaining that the website goes
blank even while the bookings are on. Representation pic

R Gupta, an IT official, IRCTC, said, "Though the server doesn't crash, the heavy traffic for e-ticketing puts pressure on it."

Explaining the reason for the same, railway officials said that since travellers start to book their summer vacation tickets three months in advance, the number of users doubles up during this period, thus resulting in minor glitches.

'Agents are culprits'
If sources within the IRCTC are to be believed, then booking agents are responsible for this slowdown. "These agents book tickets in bulk, this affects the efficacy of the website," said an IRCTC official.

Did you know?
>> On a daily basis, about 4 lakh passengers from all over India book tickets online 
>> IRCTC makes around Rs 80 lakh daily via e-bookings 
>> These figures go up by over 15 per cent during vacations, especially summer

The alternative
On January 4, the IRCTC launched a mobile application, using which passengers can book tickets. Once a booking is confirmed, the passenger will receive a reservation message on his cell phone from the railways with details like PNR number, train number, date of journey and class. This message will then be treated at par with the printout of an e-ticket.

To download the application, log on to IRCTC's website:

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