Passengers with waitlisted tickets no longer have to dial 139 to check the status of their tickets as the Railways will now send booking status messages to passengers on mobile phones. The SMS will be sent starting from five days before the journey date.
The service, launched on Monday, is free of cost.
It is estimated that about four lakh SMS alerts will be sent on a daily basis and the system will be made online in phases.
Initially, the system would be configured for sending post-chart alerts in a few selective Rajdhani trains followed by other Mail/ Express trains. Subsequently, pre-chart alerts will be enabled.
The ‘SMS Gateway’ project will be used to send SMS alerts to passengers in case of status change in tickets, as compared to the initial booking status like waitlist to RAC (reservation against cancellation), RAC to confirm and waitlist to confirm. The software has been developed by the Centre for Railway information Systems (CRIS), an autonomous organisation under the Ministry of Railways and the facility was announced in the Rail Budget. SMS alerts prior to chart preparation will be sent once a day, in case of status change only, beginning from five days before the journey date while a final SMS alert after chart preparation, which is normally done 3-4 hours before train departure, will convey the actual berth number and coach number. SMS will also be sent in case of ticket upgradation or seat re-allotment.
Minister of State for Railways Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury said: “The trials were going on from the last 10 days and it was formally launched on Monday. The status of waitlisted tickets will be communicated through SMS to the mobile phone number given at the time of ticket booking.”
This facility will greatly reduce the last minute enquiry rush on the railway websites and call centres. It will also reduce the crowding near the pasted chart locations on railway platforms.