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The Indian Railways will send SMS alerts to passengers if their booked ticket is cancelled, reports BGR. The agency started the program on a pilot basis on the 21st of June, which sends out an SMS to passengers boarding at the originating station. Passengers boarding at stations en-route will not be able to avail this facility.

To enable the feature, passengers will have to enter their mobile numbers on the ticket reservation slip. Its not clear when the program will be extended to all passengers or if it will be available to users who book tickets online. By instantly informing customers about cancellations,  the initiative will help passengers make alternate travel arrangements instead of having to wait the last moment.

Railway budget: During the railway budget presentation in February this year, the agency had outlined plans to introduce SMS alert services for train timings, including expected arrival times, delays etc. It looks like the agency is acting on its promise, although all the features mentioned then are not yet available.

Other than this the railway budget included the creation of a consumer complaint facility, an e-catering service, a multi lingual e ticketing portal, an integrated customer portal, WiFi plans and on board entertainment on select trains. Interestingly, the Railway Minister had said then that it received over 20,000 suggestions through social media, some of which were incorporated into the budget.

Previous railways developments:

– Earlier this month IRCTC tied up with SpiceJet and GoAir to allow train travellers with wait listed tickets to cancel the train ticket and instead book a flight on either airline. The new feature would only apply to tickets booked at least three days before the date of travel. In case such a ticket it waitlisted, the passenger will be able to cancel the train ticket and avail an air ticket for the original day of journey, or a day before it.

– Last month, The Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation entered into a partnership with the couponing website Mydala, to offer its users deals and offers across categories like food & beverages, beauty, health & wellness, tattoos & retail shopping to its customers. Users can use the deals while booking train tickets. However, it isn’t clear how IRCTC will monetise these transactions.

– The same month, IRCTC added Paytm wallet as an option for its users to pay for train tickets online. Through this partnership, Paytm would be able to expand its reach to Tier II and Tier III markets, like Mydala, where trains form the primary mode of long distance travel and IRCTC the default train booking platform.

– In March, IRCTC roped in Pizza Hut and KFC in order to deliver pre-ordered meals to its passengers. Passengers would need to order the food from the IRCTC website 48 hours prior to the date of the journey after which a password would be sent to the passenger’s mobile phone from the vendor.

– In the same month, IRCTC also partnered with Union Bank of India (UBI) to offer a RuPay prepaid card which would let users book train tickets and buy goods or services from the IRCTC portal. The card was developed jointly by IRCTC, UBI and National Payment Corporation of India (NPCI).

– IRCTC also tied up with Amazon.in to sell various products to IRCTC customers. However, the products were not sold on IRCTC’s website, instead clicking on ‘Shop by Amazon’ redirected users to Amazon.in, which sported an IRCTC logo on it.

– Earlier in February, IRCTC tied-up with Jubilant Foodworks to deliver Dominos’ pizza to the passengers’ seats if they were traveling across selected stations in India. In the same month, Last month, IRCTC tied-up with BookMyTrain.com to introduce cash on delivery (CoD) payment mode for buying train tickets.