IRCTC

This is interesting: Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) will soon offer a cash-on-delivery (CoD) payment option for buying railway tickets, reports Livemint citing two sources.

One of the sources told the publication that the service will be made available through a partnership with BookMyTrain.com and it is expected to go live in 4-6 weeks. At the time of writing this article, BookMyTrain is currently under a placeholder that suggests that site is expected to launch soon and will offer cash-on-delivery service for railway ticketing.

As indicated by Mint, BookMyTrain domain is owned by a Noida-based company Anduril Technologies that was incubated by Amity Innovation Incubator and builds tech solutions for domains like, payments, microfinance, telecom and ERP.

An undisclosed IRCTC executive told the publication that Anduril will be responsible for ticket delivery, cash management and cancellations and the service will initially be available in more than 100 cities.

bookmytrain

Why this can be significant?

IRCTC’s online ticketing site is known to have significant traffic load issues, although it recently launched a new ticketing platform, which appears to be one that actually stays up.

The report says IRCTC site was facing a transaction failure rate of around 30% until March this year. Through CoD, the organisation can finally reduce the high rate of transaction failures on its site, since it will enable users to book tickets and avoid skip payment gateways which traditionally causes majority of the transaction failures.

That being said, note that IRCTC had also introduced an online wallet-like deposit called Rolling Deposit Scheme (RDS) to allow users book tickets online on its website back in April 2012.

This will also reduce travellers’ dependence on agents and enable passengers in tier II and tier III cities who don’t have access to net banking, or credit and debit cards or are wary of using it for online purchases, to book tickets on IRCTC site.

It’s worth noting that online travel agents like NASDAQ-listed MakeMyTrip, Cleartrip and Yatra don’t offer Cash-on-delivery on railway ticket bookings yet.

Go-India smart card pilot

Last week, Railway Minister Sadananda Gowda had also launched the Go-India smart card as a pilot project in 12 railway stations, as indicated by a The Economic Times report. This was earlier proposed by the railway minister during his maiden Railway Budget presentation earlier this year.

The Go-India smart card operates similar to smart cards available for Metro services around the country and can currently be used only at counters and Automatic Ticket Vending Machines (ATVMs) at 12 nominated stations, including New Delhi, Kanpur, Allahabad, Howrah, Kota and Mumbai Central among others.