Regardless of whether journey by trains has become any better or safer, booking railway tickets is definitely becoming less arduous. After the success of Internet bookings, the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) has now facilitated booking railway tickets via SMS.
The new feature is in addition to IRCTC’s existing service for rail ticket reservation through mobile using speech recognition, GPRS, and CDMA technologies. The service is accessible throughout the country on BSNL, Hutch, MTNL and Tara Indicom mobile connections.
Elaborating on the new service launch, Amitabh Pandey, Group GM, IT, IRCTC, said, “Different users have different ways of operating phones and different preferences. A person booking through an SMS can save the messages for further reference.”
The service is currently available for ICICI bank customers only, However, other banks were being roped in for the service, Pandey said, adding, “The problem is many of the banks do not have authorisation for mobile banking as yet. Even our previous mobile voice ticketing facility is only for credit card holders. But we are in touch with other banks and expect them to join us for this new service soon.”
On the growth of mobile and e-ticketing, Pandey said, “As a percentage of our total ticket booking, it still constitutes a meagre 2 per cent. But on a year-on-year basis, the growth on any of the months in 2005-06 so far, except in April, is almost double in comparison to last year.”
He further said that work on the Frequent Traveller Scheme was already on.