IRCTC to introduce SMS-based train ticket booking from July

IRCTC to introduce SMS-based train ticket booking from July

The Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC), a subsidiary of the Indian Railways that handles the catering, tourism and online ticketing operations, is launching an SMS-based train ticket booking service from July 1 this year, a PTI report says quoting sources.

The new service will enable one to book tickets using even a basic feature phone. Moreover, you need not carry the hard copy of the ticket during the journey and the ticketing SMS from the IRCTC will be considered valid. All mobile users can avail this service and a dedicated number to enable mobile booking will be announced soon.

The new service is part of the corporation's initiative to leverage the fast-growing mobile phone market in India and keep its operations environment-friendly by doing away with printed tickets.

How it works

In order to book your ticket via mobile phone, you need to register your mobile number with the IRCTC, as well as with your bank. Next, the bank will provide you with a Mobile Money Identifier (MMID) and a one-time password (OTP) for payment authorisation.

Now, you need to type in the train number, destination, journey date, class and personal details (name, age and gender), and send the SMS to the dedicated number. Post that, you will receive a transaction ID and you need to make the required payment by sending another SMS. In the second SMS, type 'PAY', followed by the transaction ID, MMID and password. A user will be charged Rs 3 per SMS and will also have to pay for the payment gateway – Rs 5 for an amount up to Rs 5,000 and Rs 10 for more than Rs 5,000.

In February this year, the government announced it would introduce a new e-ticketing system to enable booking of about 7,200 tickets per minute, a significant rise from 2,000 tickets a minute. A month later, the Indian Railways also rolled out free Wi-Fi services in select trains.

(Edited by Sanghamitra Mandal)

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