Jul 2, 2013

No more waiting in queues for railway tickets, IRCTC launches SMS-based ticketing

SMS-based ticketing

Railways on Saturday launched SMS-based ticketing with two dedicated numbers - 139 and 5676714 - for the service.

"In order to give improved customer service and empower the common man who does not have access to internet and cannot afford to buy smart phones, we are today launching SMS ticket booking service", Railway Minister Mallikarjun Kharge said.

He said the service will particularly be useful for labourers staying away from home as they will find the service convenient as well as cost-effective and they will not have to travel to booking counters and forgo the earnings for a day.

Ticket booking through non-internet based mobile, launched as a pilot project by Indian Railways Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC), will also help Railways overcome the menace of touts who fleece unsuspecting people, Kharge said.

"This will also help reduce touting activities. We will see how it functions... if there are shortcomings, then we will try to change accordingly", he said.

He hoped since the mobile penetration in India has increased rapidly and more than 80 per cent people have mobile phones, the new system will be helpful in enabling booking of tickets by masses themselves.

The Railway Minister said inconvenience in booking reserved railway tickets has been a cause of concern for all.

"In order to facilitate easy access, railways have been making efforts by expanding the passenger reservation system counters' network. The online booking through IRCTC has now grown up to about 45 per cent of total reserved tickets. This has eased the rush at counters to a great extent.

"While internet access in India is only about 10 per cent, mobiles are now in easy reach and more than 80 per cent people in our country use mobile phones," Minister said.

Railway Board Chairman Vinay Mittal said railways' initiative of launching the ticketing through a mobile phone would further enhance the scope of ticketing since it has huge potential to tap the power of mobile phones.

"This service will be improved further with provision of more payment options, user-friendly interface and value added services like alerts and updates," Mittal said.

On payment mode, Mittal said "payment through mobiles is still in an evolving state and commercial Banks, RBI and National Payment Corporation of India are working on providing a safe, secured and quick payment mechanism through mobile."

IRCTC Chairman-cum-Managing Director Rakesh Tandon hoped that with passage of time this mode of booking would surpass booking through website due to the convenience and the wider reach of mobile phones as compared to the internet.

As per the requirement, one has to register the mobile number with IRCTC as well as one's bank. The bank provides MMID (Mobile Money Identifier) and OTP (one time password) for authorization of payment.

The passenger has to type the train number, destination, journey date, class and passenger details like name, age and gender on the SMS box.

The sender will receive transaction ID and then make payment through sending another SMS by typing PAY followed by the transaction ID, MMID as received from the bank and password and with this the passenger's ticket is booked.

The service is available to all mobile subscribers and Rs.3 is being charged per SMS and payment gateway charges are Rs.5 for ticket amount upto Rs.5,000 and Rs.10 for more than Rs.5,000
.Source - india today

Railway employee held for posing as TC

MUMBAI: A 29-year-old railway employee was arrested on Monday for posing as a ticket checker and extorting money from commuters travelling in the handicapped coach of a train.

Afzal Kadar Khan, the accused, was employed as a pointsman with the operating department of the Jasai-JNPT yard. He misused his railway identity card to con commuters into believing that he was a ticket checker. His aide, Mahesh Rahate, is on the run.

On Monday, Khan finished duty around 10am and met Rahate. The duo had a few drinks before boarding the handicapped coach of a Central Railway local at 2pm. They zeroed in on two students, Ashok Pawar and Kailash Chavan, and reprimanded them for travelling in the handicapped coach illegally. At Ghatkopar station, they asked Pawar and Chavan to get off and pay Rs 1,000 if they did not want to be booked. When the two students refused, the accused threatened them and forced out a sum of Rs 200. The accused also slapped an elderly commuter when he tried to intervene.

Meanwhile, commuters on the platform sensed something amiss and alerted the government railway police. While Khan was arrested on extortion charges, Rahate managed to flee; Rs 500 was seized from Khan. He will be produced before a railway court on Tuesday.

Source - times of india

Kharge promises to rev up 7 railway projects

BANGALORE: A sum of Rs 600 crore to expedite work on seven long-pending railway projects and a promise to clear hurdles for Bangalore Metro work are some of the sops that the new railways minister Mallikarjun M Kharge doled out to his home state on Monday.

"Railways and Karnataka government together have decided to spend an additional Rs 600 crorein the current financial year to expedite work on seven pending rail projects,'' Kharge told reporters after a meeting with senior railway and state government officials.

He said while the Centre would give an additional Rs 300 crore, the state would also chip in with an equal amount to take up those projects on a "war-footing". "We have decided to give more money for some urgent works and complete them in eight to ten months," he added.

He also put the onus of project completion on the state government and said it should take it up on priority and resolve disputes relating to land acquisition hampering rail expansion.

Kharge said Karnataka has received a share of Rs 900 crore for projects in the railway budget 2013-14 and if one were to include electrification and doubling of tracks, it would cross Rs 1,200 crore.

The sops from Kharge, however, have not impressed everyone. "We were expecting new railway lines and new trains for the state. But he simply belied our expectations. Even the sops of Rs 300 crore are just not enough,'' said S Hariprasad, a member of FKCCI, adding the promised projects were already on track and there was nothing new about it.

Kharge maintained that he decided to speed up the pending projects because there is less than a year for his term to end and making tall promises would simply not fetch results.

Removing hurdles for Metro

Kharge said the Bangalore Metro officials have apprised him about the hurdles involved in the work of Metro and he would take it up as a priority. "The onus of Metro work is largely on the state government but we have some issues to sort out. I will do all the needful to ensure work goes on smoothly,'' he added.

No hike in rail fares

Kharge ruled out increasing rail fares this year in view of diesel price hike. "There is no such proposal, and fares would not be raised. We will take the financial burden ourselves and not pass it on to passengers," Kharge said.

Booking to become smooth

Kharge said the railways will increase the number of servers to facilitate hassle-free booking of rail tickets through Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) Website. "The pressure on IRCTC servers has already come down with the introduction of SMS booking. It's just a matter of time," he added.

New railway divisions

Kharge said he will examine the long-pending demand to include Gulbarga and Mangalore railway divisions in the South Western Railway Zone. "I cannot promise just like that. I have to see whether it is feasible. If necessary I will get the feasibility report done before taking a final decision,'' he added.

Kunigal stud farm

The railway is in a state of preparedness to execute work on the vital Bangalore-Hassan railway line which cuts across the historical Kunigal stud farm. But due to land acquisition problems the project has got delayed. "I have asked the state government to discuss the issue with business magnate Vijay Mallya and resolve it at the earliest. This is also true in case of land acquisition problems on Mangalore-Shravanabelagola route,'' Kharge said.

Mysore-Bangalore doubling

The work to shift the 225-year-old Tipu Sultan's armoury which has come in the way of Bangalore-Mysore railway line doubling project can only be expected to begin next year. "We are waiting for shifting of the armoury to protect it without causing any damage to the structure,'' Kharge said. The armoury, which is one of eight constructed by erstwhile Mysore ruler Tipu Sultan, comes under the Directorate of Archaeology and Museums, Government of Karnataka and is situated close to the railway track at the Srirangapatna Railway Station.

Pending projects

Routes --------------------------- Deadline/ clearing hurdles

Kadur-Chikmagalur - ----------- Nov 2013

Kolar-Chikkaballapur ------------ Dec 2013

Gadwal-Raichur ----------------------August 15, 2013

Hotagi- Gulbarga ---- -------------Dec 2014-15

Hassan-Bangalore --------------- To decide on Kunigal stud farm

Hospet-Hubli-Londa-Tinaighat-Vasco-da-Gama --- To get nod

Bidar-Humanabad --- -----------------Two-and-a-half-years

Minister's promises

Kharge promised to sort out hurdles in the Bangalore Metro on a priority basis

He ruled out increasing rail fares this year in view of diesel price hike

Railways will increase the number of servers to facilitate hassle-free booking

Examine demand to include Gulbarga, Mangalore divisions in South Western Railway Zone

Asks state to discuss Kunigal stud farm issue with industrialist Vijay Mallya to sort out Bangalore-Hassan line

Tipu Sultan's armoury, which has come in the way of Bangalore-Mysore doubling project, to be shifted from next year
Source - times of india





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