IRCTC, The Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation, which has so far had a monopoly over online rail ticketing in India (although it allows to use its API) will cut booking charges on e-tickets purchased on its website, reports The Hindu. This move comes shortly after Railway Minister, Mamata Banerjee announced the launch of a new railway ticketing portal to be run by Centre for Railway Information Systems (CRIS), the IT arm of Indian Railways, in the Railway Budget, and more importantly, announcing lower service charges than IRCTC – Rs 10 for AC classes and Rs 5 for others. So, IRCTC appears to be reacting to its parent organization’s challenge, but no date for the change has been announced yet – neither for the IRCTC lowering rates, nor for the launch of the CRIS portal.
In the meantime, there appear to be issues with IRCTC’s booking system – online travel portal Cleartrip had recently removed the “Trains” link from its website, which it says was a move to avoid negative impact on customer experience since the site was experiencing severe difficulties connecting to IRCTC’s servers. The link has been restored now.
IRCTC’s online payment gateway transactions cross over $100 million every month. It registered 11.7 million transactions and 8.8 million successful transactions in January 2011. Do take a look at our visualizations for the time period during which IRCTC published transaction values: