Indian Railway Catering & Tourism Corporation (IRCTC), which manages the online rail ticketing for the Indian Railways, has reported 31,457 individual bookings through mobile phones for October 2012.
This announcement was made by Kotla Jaya Surya Prakash Reddy, the Minister of State for Railways, in reply to a question in the Rajya Sabha. However, it is not clear if this number accounts for bookings done only on the IRCTC mobile website or it includes bookings done from third party apps like Paymate, ngpay and atom.
Elaborating on the payment options available for mobile booking, the minister stated that users can currently book tickets through Credit Cards, Debit Cards and IMPS (Interbank Mobile Payment System).
IRCTC had launched a mobile ticketing website at irctc.co.in/mobile in January this year. The site allowed users to book tickets, check for available tickets on their preferred route, browse their previous booked history, and cancel bookings. It was in addition to the existing Paymate, ngpay and atom mobile applications. Back then, IRCTC had also stated its plans to launch a mobile application which will be available for download from its website, although there was no further update on the same.
IRCTC Website Booking: The minister also stated that IRCTC registered an average 3.74 lakh bookings through its website, for the month of October 2012. He also mentioned that IRCTC recorded its highest booking on a single day of 4.95 lakh e-tickets on July 13, 2012.
Steps to Improve the Ticketing System: The minister also reiterated that several steps had been taken to improve the online ticketing system of Indian Railways. These include installing high capacity servers, increasing the Internet Bandwidth and increasing the number of online payment options on the portal to 42 different options.
In addition, IRCTC has also shifted the opening of Tatkal bookings from 8 am to 10 am in July 2012, in a bid to increase the public access to e-ticketing and facilitate load balancing on the IRCTC server. It has also restricted ticket booking through agents between 8am to 12 pm and we also noticed that one cannot book tickets on the IRCTC mobile site between 8 am to 12 pm at the time of writing this article.
In August 2012, IRCTC was also planning to launch an online prepaid deposit initiative called Rolling Deposit Scheme (RDS), enabling users book tickets online on the IRCTC website through these deposits. However it is still not clear as to when IRCTC will implement RDS on the its website and how does one register for this service.
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