Indian Railway Catering & Tourism Corporation (IRCTC), which manages the online rail ticketing for the Indian Railways, has launched a new mobile ticketing website (in beta) which allows users to book tickets, check their booking history and cancel tickets. This is in addition to the existing Paymate, ngpay and atom applications.
– Homepage: The mobile site is pretty basic and allows you to book tickets, check for available tickets on your preferred route, browse your previous booked history, and cancel tickets upon entering your IRCTC credentials at the start.
– Ticket Booking: It allows you to check for available tickets based on source and destination, date of journey, classes of travel and quota (if any). Sadly, there is no autocomplete option in the site, so you will have to go through an extra step of obtaining station codes in case you are not familiar with it. Upon choosing your preferred train, you can add passengers and book tickets using your credit or debit card.
That being said, the mobile site currently offers only Citibank as the payment option at the time of writing this article, and other payment options will be added later. Similar to e-ticket bookings, users will be charged the regular ticket fare along with IRCTC service charge and an agent service charge of Rs 10 for Sleeper class and Rs 20 for higher classes.
After payment, you will get a text message with full details of your ticket including the PNR number, Train No., date of journey and class, which will be treated at par with an e-ticket printout, as noted by pib.
– Booking History and Cancellation: This section allows you to browse through your previous bookings for forthcoming journeys and cancel tickets if necessary.
Yet another mobile app? IRCTC claimed that the mobile site is already being used by more than a thousand users and it intends to launch a mobile application (hopefully native) which will be available for download from www.irctc.co.in in future. However, we don’t see the need for yet another mobile app, since there are already three existing applications in the form of Paymate, ngpay and atom. Further, Cleartrip also offers train booking on its mobile website. What we need is a single mobile app which consolidates all the existing payment mechanisms in itself.
Site not working? While the site worked perfectly fine in the morning on an HTC Desire Z, it is now redirecting to IRCTC’s desktop version for us. Correct us if we are wrong but we assume this has something to do with the cache management of the website and should be rectified once the site comes out of beta.