Last month, the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation Limited (IRCTC) implemented a new rule, that will allow only one ticket per user in one login session between 8am and 12pm. Now the agency has gone a step further and introduced a slew of new rules that could make booking inconvenient even for a regular user.
Without further ado, here are the new rules:
1) Individuals are allowed only 2 tickets per user-id in a day (for Advance Reservation Period booking) from 0800 to 1000 hours.
2) Individuals are allowed only 2 tickets per use-id in a day (for Tatkal booking) from 1000 to 1200 hours.
3) Individuals are allowed only 2 Tatkal tickets per IP Address from 0800 to 1200 hours.
4) Maximum number of tickets allowed to an individual is 10 per month.
5) Quick Book option is disabled from 0800 to 1200 hours.
6) Booking are not allowed through e-wallet and cash awards from 0800 to 1200 hours.
7) Agent booking is restricted from 0800 to 1200 hours except certain relaxations in the case of Rail Travellers Service Agents (RTSAs).
8) Provision of Captcha has been made in Registration, Login and Booking page to check fraudulent booking through automation software.
9) In order to prevent alterations in the contents of Electronic Reservation Slip (ERS), the necessary technical changes to disable modification of pre-issued tickets have been implemented.
Will IRCTC eventually shut itself down to stop agents?
Other than rule numbers 5, 7, 8 and 9, the rest will slow down regular customers as much as it will slow down agents. Want to book advanced tickets for 3 people between 8am to 10am? No can do. Tatkal tickets for more than 2 people between 8am to 12pm? No, sorry. Want to book 20 tickets for your wedding party? Nope. This stance by IRCTC seems a bit harsh, as many of the use cases outlawed by the agency have legitimate uses among normal users.
Note that the IRCTC has been taking various steps to stop agents from hogging tickets for a while now. This is especially true since 2012 when it was alleged that a daily 4-5 minute down-time at 8am on its website was orchestrated to ensure that touts have exclusivity over emergency tickets. In the ensuing month, IRCTC took steps like allowing agents to book only one tatkal ticket per train per day on the website after 12pm, and allowing individual users only 2 tickets between 10am and 12pm.
Ticketing initiatives: IRCTC’s online ticketing site is known to have significant traffic load issues, despite having launched a new ticketing system platform which appeared to stay online. The agency also introduced cash on delivery (CoD) payment option for buying train tickets in partnership with BookMyTrain.com in February. In October last year, Indian Railways had tied-up with Citibank to offer EMI facility for e-ticket bookings on IRCTC. The same month, IRCTC also released its official Android app. The app allows users to search for and book rail tickets, check existing reservations, cancel reservations and get upcoming journey alerts.
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