Nearly six months after the Indian government announced a new railway ticketing portal from Centre for Railway Information Systems (CRIS), the Indian Railways is set to roll out the new web service, which will only allow individual users to book tickets, leaving out travel agents, reports PTI. Citing an unnamed Railways official as the source, the report indicates that the new service will be announced after necessary clearance for payment gateway transaction is obtained. It will be made available the official Indian Railways website – indianrailways.gov.in, and will allow individual users a maximum of eight transactions per user ID in its initial days.

Inline with the announcement made in the railway budget, the service charge for booking of tickets through this service would be cheaper at Rs 10 for AC classes and Rs 5 for others, which is half of the existing service charge levied by the IRCTC reservation portal, at Rs 20 for AC and Rs 10 for others. A mobile application will also be made available for access to the service from mobile phones. In addition to ticket bookings, the service will also offer tracking facility for freight trains running and parcel shipment status.

While the new service will certainly ease traffic from the IRCTC website, the Indian Railways should ensure that the new service is able to handle traffic by investing in a good server infrastructure. Also, keeping agents and commercial organizations out of the service sounds like a good idea, considering the number of problems that plagued IRCTC and travelers, due to misuse. Although, the IRCTC has been taking steps to check malpractices by agents, including banning them for an hour in the early morning Tatkal peak time, measures like limiting the number of transactions will help in clamping down misuse by agents, who create fake IDs.

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