The Centre for Railway Information Systems (CRIS) has launched a mobile ticketing application called UTS for Android smartphones. The plans to launch this app were first reported by ET yesterday.

The applications lets users book unreserved tickets on daily suburban trains. As of now only Chennai and Mumbai are supported. On booking a ticket, users need not print out the ticket and can instead display the soft-copy on their smartphones to the TTE. Other than booking unreserved tickets, the app will allow passengers to cancel tickets, maintain a profile and manage frequent travel routes etc.

On downloading the app, users first need to register to be able to use it. For registration, users need to use their mobile numbers as well as validate using a government issued ID card. As of now, Chennai and Mumbai are the only selectable cities during registration. As of writing, the app had received over 50,000 downloads within a day of its launch.

As for payment, users will have to first load money into the app’s ‘wallet’, either through a ticket counter at a railway station, or through the IRCTC website using a credit or debit card. Users will also be able to renew season’s tickets using the app. The agency mentioned that the app will be made available for Blackberry users soon, although strangely there is no word on when iPhone and Windows phone users will get the app.

Overall the app seems pretty useful to get away from ticketing queues at heavily crowded railway stations. Most of the 1 star ratings the app has received are for being limited to two cities for now. But the app is new, and its better to iron out bugs and slowly roll out across the country than to roll out a buggy app. We expect that once the app is widely available across the country, it will see much greater adoption and use among train travellers.

CRIS, which created the app, is a society set up by the Ministry of Railways in 1986 that takes care of  passenger ticketing, freight operations, train dispatching and control, crew management, e-procurement, etc. Other apps in its kitty include the NTES (National Train Enquiry System) app that lets users spot trains, check schedule etc., and the COMS (Complaint Management System) app that lets users register complaints.