The ticket booking in Indian railways has come a long way, a few decades ago booking a railway ticket would mean endless queues. With internet the world changed, there was lot of technical invasions and railways also didn’t want to left behind. They first came up with their site www.indianrail.gov.in ,which helped the passengers a big way but they striked gold with their new website www.irctc.co.in.
IRCTC stands for Indian Railways Catering and Tourism Corporation opts. This was set up in the year 2002 and is a public sector company. This is completely owned by the Ministry of railways and serves almost close to 13 million people on a daily basis. They have been instrumental in managing the catering and tourism services at various stations and have also been helping in promoting a lot of domestic tourism.
IRCTC has already become synonymous with booking of tickets. They help in planning and booking tickets for long distance travel as well as for the normal season tickets. Season tickets are generally passes that can be furnished on a monthly or a quarterly basis depending upon the frequency of the travel. Season tickets are by and large used very heavily by Mumbaikars who travel on a daily basis to work.
As discussed earlier, one can book long distance travel through IRCTC. For that all you need to do is log into the IRCTC site, type in the password and username. If you are a first timer on the site, you may need to create a username and password. Once logged in, for booking tickets one needs to click on plan my travel. Plan my travel opens up a new page, where in you need to mention your to and from destination, the date on which the travel is decided and the type of ticket. On IRCTC, you can book tickets via e ticket, I ticket and for Tatkal services. Once all the details are filled in, a list with the name of trains will appear on the screen. Select the train, select the class and click on book depending upon the availability. Payments can be done using debit card, credit card and net banking. Apart from booking, IRCTC also helps in keeping track of the tickets, checking the status of the tickets.
One can also cancel the tickets via IRCTC; you need not go to the ticket counter for the same. Apart from cancellation, you can also take printout of the ticket if you have booked an e ticket. Other than the services related to tickets one can also claim for refunds via TDR, this generally happens when you are not able to undertake the journey. Also, as said earlier IRCTC also helps you book season ticket. All you need is click on season tickets, on the screen that gets displayed specify the details and make the payment online.
IRCTC, in short has made life really easy for the general populace as they are saved from long queues.
There are lots of services being offered by IRCTC website for the passengers. Some of these services have also been provided by selective mobile service operators via their mobile phones. These mobile operators offer these services via web services where one can book their tickets on mobile.
Booking of I-tickets, E-tickets and Tatkal tickets is one of the major services offered by IRCTC websites. I-ticket service refers to a Railway ticket reservation booked on the IRCTC website where the train tickets are booked on the site and then they are printed and delivered to home by courier by railways.
E-ticket service refers to a Railway ticket reservation booked on the IRCTC website where the electronic reservation slip can be printed by the passenger and later on it can be produced to Railway authority along with proof of personal identification. Tatkal Ticket is booked against Tatkal Quota on IRCTC website by making extra payment of premium charges as per the existed railway rules.
There is a limit on the maximum number of berth booked on IRCTC website and one can book only six berths at a time. However, a maximum of ten tickets can be booked on IRCTC site by an individual user in a calendar month. Booking on the site can be done against general, ladies, senior citizen, and tatkal quota berths/seats only.
Tatkal Quota berths/seats are allocated in different classes with exception of First Class Air-conditioned (1A) class. Ladies quota is generally allocated in Sleeper class and second sitting. No concession is allowed except senior citizen in case of tickets booked on IRCTC site.
General enquiries available on IRCTC site are Accommodation available for a train/date combination, Current Status of reserved tickets, Time Table, Train fare, Trains available between a given pair of stations. IRCTC offers the E-Booking or E-reservation facility for all trains. It also provides for online cancellation facility for E-tickets alone till the time charts are prepared.
Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) is government of India enterprise and a subsidiary of the Indian Railways headquartered at New Delhi, India. It extends the facilities of catering, tourism and online train ticket booking across India. It is part of the Indian Railways and is widely used website that experiences heavy traffic.
IRCTC Awards and achievements
Within a short duration of its inception, the IRCTC website had made great progress and today it had become one of the largest websites in the Asia-Pacific region serving the needs of about lakhs of registered users. It is also among the fastest growing e-commerce websites.
IRCTC has been awarded with numerous awards including the National Tourism Award of Excellence presented by Ministry of Tourism, Govt. of India, and National Award for E-Governance for the year 2007-08 jointly given by Department of IT, Govt. of Haryana and Govt. of India, Genius of the Web Award for year 2007 by CNBC for being the “Best E-Governance PSU Site”.
IRCTC Tourism Unit of West Zone was declared winner in the event held in Mumbai from 9 to 11 Feb 2008 in the category of “Best Value Leisure Product”. IRCTC has also won the National award for E-Governance for the year 2007-08 for being “Best Citizen Centric Application”. IRCTC Tourism Unit was declared winner for the category Most Innovative Product in TTF & OTM 2007 held in Mumbai in Feb 2007.
IRCTC has won the CSI-Nihilent E-Governance award in 2007 for “Best E-Governance Project”. It has also won the ICICI Bank Retail Excellence Award in the year 2005 and Path Breaker Award from Dataquest in the year 2003 and 2004.
IRCTC has been set up by the Railways Ministry with the basic reason of adopting the professional approach in the catering, tourism and online booking services and upgrading these services by active public private participation. Today, Indian Railways is rendering its services to 13 million passengers every day, spanning global volumes in hospitality and catering sectors.
Foreign tourists, who wish to travel India by Indian Railways and experience its breathtaking locales and scenic beauty, can avail of the various facilities designed for them. Some of these facilities include Special Quota, Assistance Cells, International Tourist Bureau and Indrail Pass.
Special Quota: There are various trains which have a special quota booked for the foreign tourists. Foreign Tourists can avail of this facility by making a payment in US Dollars or Pound Sterling. Those Tourists, who do not make the payment in foreign currency, are allotted the special quota after producing the exchange certificates which should be issued by any nationalized bank. While booking the tickets under special quota for foreign tourists, the passport number and the country of origin needs to be mentioned.
Assistance Cells: In order to assist the foreign tourists, Indian Railways have set up special cells at Major Railway Reservation Centers. These special cells assist the foreign tourists in planning their itinerary, reserving their tickets and provide any other assistance required.
The International Tourist Bureau offers personalized service and assistance to foreign tourists and NRIs including itinerary planning, making reservations and other inquiries. It is located on the first floor of New Delhi Railway station and comprises of trained staff and tourist guides who are fluent in foreign languages for any help required. Address: International Tourist Bureau, 1, Floor, New Delhi Railway Station, New Delhi – 110 001. Contact numbers of Bureau are as follows Tel: 011-3346804, 3734164, Fax: 011-3343050
Indrail Pass: This travel ticket has been designed keeping in mind the needs of foreign tourists and Indian nationals who are residing abroad. This ticket is accessible for a special time period ranging from 1/2 day to 90 days. Indrail Passes should be utilized within one year of issue. The validity period of Indrail pass begins from the date of the first train journey and it finishes on the midnight of the last journey.
Indian Railway provides the facility of the online railway reservation where in reservation seeking passengers can reserve the tickets online over the internet. Passengers require the computer with internet access as well as mode of online payment to reserve the tickets. This has made life easy and comfortable for the passengers as they can get their reservation done from the comfort of their home. It’s a great relief for those who do not have time to stand in the long queue at the railway counters.
In order to reserve the tickets online, passengers need to visit the following website of the Indian Railways Online reservation. http://www.irctc.co.in. It is hugely popularized website that not only offers the facility for online reservation of tickets but also, provides the plethora of information regarding the railways for the passengers.
Passengers can now enquire the status of a wait listed ticket, enquire about the details of trains like its route, originating and destination stations, its class, its fare in various classes, etc., details regarding the train time table and the availability status live at that particular moment. One can get all these benefits by using online internet railways reservation website.
Online reservation is regarded as the easiest and trustworthy mode of reserving tickets. All one require is access to a computer with internet connection and should have an online mode of making payment like a debit or a credit card. There is a list of banks cited on the page of IRCTC website. If passenger has bank account that is listed on railway website then the payment is made instantly using the debit or credit card.
Online reservation website registers at least a million hits every day. It provides lots of user friendly features. There are agents available who does the job of reserving the tickets online. If one does not have a access to computer with net connection or online mode of payment like debit card/credit card, then one can approach these agents who will book the ticket by charging nominal fees from the passengers.
Sify Iway cyber cafés provides such facility of reserving the ticket by making cash payment. State Bank of India offers the railway card which is a useful for reserving the tickets. Similar to SBI, Federal Bank and IRCTC have collaborated with each other to offer the service of online railway ticket booking using the Fed Net principle. One can get the tickets delivered for free at home and the reservation charges are debited directly from the Federal Bank Account.
Shubh Yatra is a feature provided to the persons travelling by d AC 2nd Class and above and who uses railway frequently.
IRCTC website is the government of India Enterprise and official online ticket reservation site. As per Google Zeitgeist, it is among the most visited sites in the year 2008 in India. IRCTC is dedicated towards providing the catering, online booking and tourism facilities. One may browse the following link to visit the IRCTC website.
IRCTC website is offering it services in English as well as in Hindi language. One may select the option Hindi from the top left hand side of the home page in yellow colored bar. Below this bar, the site possesses links for the various services offered by the site including Train Reservation, Loyalty Program, Tourist Trains, Tour packages, Book Cabs and Hotels.
One can view the login box below the links for navigation on home page. It has the radio buttons for Train ticket, Tourism Services and Mumbai Season Ticket. One is required to sign up and register oneself with the site for using it the first time. Registered users can directly login and avail the services offered by site. On right side of login box, there is a box highlighting the IRCTC updates/ alerts. It also has the link for opinion poll.
Next to IRCTC updates, the site has contact details for customer care. It depicts that 24X7 customer care no is 011-2334 0000. Other numbers of customer care from Monday to Saturday from 10 AM to 6 PM includes 011-2334 5500, 011- 2334 4787/4773/5800 and 011-2334 8539/8543. Customer care number for Chennai is 044-2530 0000 and email address is firstname.lastname@example.org
Lower half of the webpage consists of various links including Help & Info, Enquiries, Loyalty Program, Special Offers, IRCTC Zone, Mobile Zone and Catering. By clicking on each of this link, one will get the details related to that particular topic. For e.g. clicking on Help & Info will get the details and links of User Guides, General, Ticket Delivery, Cancellation procedure, Security and Information for Agents.
The IRCTC offers the facility for making transactions with Mumbai suburban season ticket System via the Internet. All Rules and regulations related to Mumbai suburban season ticket booking is applicable to all such transactions in addition to special conditions that are imposed for Internet based booking.
Services Offered by IRCTC for Mumbai suburban season ticket include Online Reservation facility for registered users who agree to various terms and conditions as mentioned in document. The timing of booking via Internet is permissible from 5 AM to 11:30 PM (Indian Standard Time) on all days of week including Sundays. The booking of Season Ticket is allowed only against adult quota.
Registered users can purchase a season ticket in advance from 2 days up to 10 days from the date of booking. In case one request for season tickets to be delivered at home by courier, then there should be at least two calendar days between the booking date and the date of travel.
Some of the services which are not offered by IRCTC include Concessional season tickets booked via Internet, Cancellation/ Refund/ Modification of tickets booked over the internet, Season ticket booking for child ticket, Student concession, Modification and Cancellation of season tickets, Issue of duplicate tickets for mutilated, lost, or torn season tickets, Change of destination and source stations of season tickets and Personal Collection of tickets by customers.
While booking the season tickets over the IRCTC site, one needs to mention the complete address if one intends to opt for dispatch and delivery of tickets. Tickets will be delivered at customer’s desired address via courier. This delivery of Mumbai suburban season Tickets via courier is limited to the following places including Mumbai, Nashik, Pune, Surat and Thane. One may look for the places covered by railways for delivery of season tickets through courier from IRCTC websites.
Indian Railways “Jago, Yatri, Jago” program intends to create the awareness among the passengers so that they are not being overcharged for the services provided by the railway staff. There are various types of overcharging like overcharging on Tea & Coffee, overcharging on Meals, adding extra dish without order of passengers, charging on account of non availability of change, charging extra for chilled PDW bottle, etc
Indian Railways has come out with various actions in order to curb the overcharging and provide relief to the passengers. Some of the measures included drive on overcharging, pasting of Bilingual Menu Stickers in Mail/Express trains, letter issued to licensees to stop overcharging, punitive action against licensee on overcharging, instructions to QCPs to cover this particular aspect in their inspections, time to time counseling of licensees and their service staff, rounding off to amount in Rupee.
Indian Railways has introduced On-line Complaint Management System to facilitate the passengers for lodging their complaint online by logging at IRCTC website. After the receipt of the complaint it is sent directly to the concerned licensee for submission of comments immediately. A complainant is allotted a unique complaint number for tracking the status of complains.
Indian Railways has launched a National Toll Free No 1800111139 for providing the swift redressal of complaints and various suggestions conveyed by passengers over the phone. One can call on this number free of charge from train and register one’s complain. One can also register one’s complain through SMS. Control Offices are set up to monitor the quality of the catering services 24 X 7. Central Control office is set up at New Delhi which is completely equipped with Phone, PC with broadband connectivity, Fax and scanner.
Passengers are suggested to carry change to avoid overcharging, demands bills/receipt, check MRP & date of expiry, buy food items only from authorized stalls, check the brand of packed items, demand complaint book, use Toll Free No. 1800-111-139 and send SMS on 9971111139.
Indian Railways offers the facility of medical aid for the passengers. One can contact the Guard, Coach Attendant and Conductor in case the medical aid is needed due to sudden illness or injury. In case of any such emergency, the Railway Staff will arrange for a doctor to attend or First Aid and supply medicines at prescribed charges.
In order to ensure that train is not stopped for long time causing inconvenience to passengers, passenger may be asked by the railway authorities to discontinue his train journey and proper medical aid is administered to the patient. There are arrangements in place for sending advance message to arrange for a doctor on the coming station.
Indian Railways permits the passengers to carry the following quantity of luggage without any charges from the originating station when one purchase an adult ticket and half of below mentioned quantity on a child ticket.
AC First Class (70 Kgs), First class/AC 2tier (50 Kgs), AC Chair Car/AC 3-Tier Sleeper (40 Kgs), Sleeper Class-(40 Kgs), Second Class (35 Kgs).
In case one feels that luggage is likely to cross this limit, one should weigh it in advance at the station. Indian Railways advises passengers to carry minimum amount of luggage with them in the compartments so as to make the travel comfortable. Excessive luggage may be booked in Luggage Vans that are attached to every train. It will carry the heavy luggage while passenger travels in compartments.
To assist the passengers in case of theft of their luggage and any other belongings, dacoity or robbery in running trains, Indian Railways provides the forms for lodging report and incidence with police. These forms are available with Guards, train Conductors, Coach Attendants and G.R.P. Escorts. One is required to complete the forms carefully with all the required details and submit it the railway officials who will register the report at the following Police Station and passengers need not break their journey for lodging the report.
Majority of the stations have a Cloak Room facility where one can keep excess luggage duly packed and locked at nominal charges on an hourly basis. It is very useful for the transit passenger who has to catch the train after 5-6 hours for next destination.
The Journey of the Indian Railways began on 16th April 1853, marked by the launch of first train which was operated between Mumbai and Thane. It covered the distance of 21 miles in its first ever journey. Later on, the first passenger train became operational on 15th August, 1854 which ran between Howrah station and Hooghly covering a distance of 24 miles. Today, Indian Railways proudly boast of completing 150 glorious and remarkable years of providing services for the nation.
During its long and phenomenal journey of 150 years, Indian railways has witnessed tremendous development in regards to its financial status, security, technology ,safety, projects, and above all its rendering of quality service to the people. There were numerous initiatives the Rail ministry from time to time that has led to the growth of the Indian Railways like computer-based reservation system, IVRS or interactive voice response system, online reservation and usage of smart cards.
Indian Railways offers the convenient as well as cheapest mode of travel for people across the country. It has proved to be principal mode of transportation for passengers and freight in the country. Indian Railways is regarded as one of the largest networks in the world spanning the distance of 63,221 km and also it is the largest employer in country that provides employment to 1.54 million people.
Indian Railways possess very efficient communication system between two stations. It comprises of various types of accommodation classes including 1st class, 2nd class sleeper, AC 2tier, AC 3tier & chair car.
The Indian railway operates about 11,000 trains daily including 7000 passenger trains. It has been divided into 9 different Zones including Eastern, Western, Central, Northern, Northeast Frontier, Southern, North Eastern, South Central & South Eastern spanning the largest route length of more than 63000 Kms across the length and breadth of Indian boundary.