(by Vikas SN & Nikhil Pahwa)

Indian Railways reported total revenues of Rs 9498 crores (approximately $1.7 billion) and sold 116 million tickets through IRCTC in 2011-12, according to a Right To Information request filed by Manoranjan Roy, The Economic Times reports. The article points out that the railways earned as much as Rs 198.8 crore (approx $36 million) through E-Ticket cancellations for the financial year 2011-12 (until December 2011) and Rs 235.37 crores (approx $42.79 million) the previous fiscal year. Cancellations and high failure rates are common on the IRCTC website, and while only around 45% of railways ticketing is through the site, it typically reports failure rates of between 25% to 30%. For example, for April 2012, IRCTC reported 12.95 million transactions, of which only 73.05% were successful. There’s more information on IRCTC cancellations in the Economic Times article, but readers should keep in mind that both information on tickets and revenues appear to have been approximated. We did some calculations on the basis of this approximated data:

Just to give you some context on monthly ticketing, here is IRCTC data for the fiscal year 2009-10:

At least in case of number of tickets, it adds up for 2010-11, but has been approximated. Note that IRCTC stopped publishing financial data after August 2009, and we don’t have monthly income data since. For our monthly reports on IRCTC payment gateway performance, click here.

Some observations from the RTI data:
– IRCTC reported a monthly income of around $144 million for FY 2011-12. Given that customers often face ticketing issues, especially early in the morning, this could cross $150 million per month if technical issues are addressed.
–  As number of tickets booked has increased, from 2.5 million in FY 2005-06 to 116.1 million in FY 2011-12, the average revenue per ticket has declined – from Rs 1268 in FY 2005-06 to Rs 818.09 in FY 2011-12.

– Typically, growth in tickets has been higher than the increase in income. FY 2009-10 was an aberration because number of tickets sold increased 63.41% from 44 million to 71.9 million while income increased 77.68% from Rs 3383 crore to Rs 6011 crore ($615 million to 1.09 billion). For the same period, average revenue per ticket increased by 8.73%, while for all other years, a decline was reported. Was there an increase in rates?
– As expected, with an increase in scale, the percentage increase in both tickets and sales appears to be slowing : FY 2011-12 saw the slowest growth: up by 19.2 million tickets and Rs 1491 crore (approx $271M), as compared to FY 2010-11, which saw tickets up by 25 million and income up by 1996 crore.

Upgradation Of The IRCTC Ticketing System

Earlier this month, Railway Minister Mukul Roy had stated in reply to a question in the Lok Sabha that the ministry had sanctioned a Rs 55 crore project to upgrade the Railways e-booking system, in the face of increased demand for e-booking and problems of inaccessibility and slow systems. He had claimed that the new e-booking system will allow bookings of up to one million e-tickets every day, although there was no specific information whether railway minister had allotted this fund to improve IRCTC’s e-booking facility or the new railway ticketing portal Indianrailways.gov.in from Centre for Railway Information Systems (CRIS), announced in last year’s railway budget, although the e-ticketing facility at Indianrailways.gov.in was disabled in last July and now redirects users to IRCTC website for all e-ticketing purposes.