Looks like Indian Railways is following the airline industry in offering passengers customised service. It will now allow passengers to select the coach too while buying tickets online.
Hitherto, passengers could only select the berth while booking online. However, the Railway Budget has expanded the scope of online booking; passengers can now select the coach, berth and the seat in chair car.
“Invariably, I end up walking more than one km at Chennai Central to take the bogie near the engine. Now, I can select the coach that is closer to the entrance of the station,” said S Kausalya, a senior citizen, who travels to Kozhikode frequently.
As is known, air passengers can select their seats depending on their preferences. However, some seats come at a premium, especially in low-cost airlines. It is not clear whether a premium will be collected by the Railways too on some of the new initiatives, said sources.
The Railways launched the online train reservation facility in August 2002 and booking of ticket through SMS last year.
In 2012-13, 14.06 crore tickets were booked through the website of the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation Ltd against 11.61 crore the previous year. Nearly 50 per cent of the total reserved tickets of Indian Railways were booked through the site, said IRCTC’s annual report for 2012-13.
Out of the ?720-crore revenue posted by IRCTC in 2012-13, nearly 27 per cent came from Internet booking, the report said. Become an authorized IRCTC agency
The Minister also announced that the facility of online booking of Railway Retiring Room would be extended to all the stations during the course of the year. The railway reservation system would be revamped into a next generation e-ticketing system. Ticket booking through the mobile phone and through post offices would be popularised. “We will improve the system capabilities in e-ticketing to support 7,200 tickets per minute as against 2,000 tickets and allow 1,20,000 simultaneous users at any point in time,” the minister said. Efforts would also be made to provide the facility of buying platform ticket and Unreserved ticket over the internet, he said.