The Railway Budget is likely to bring cheer to passengers who have to face technical glitches while booking rail tickets through the IRCTC website.
Railway Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal announced that his ministry would put in place a next generation e-ticketing system to usher in a paradigm shift in internet rail ticketing.
The proposed upgraded system, which will be rolled out by year-end, will be able to support 7,200 tickets per minute as against 2,000 tickets per minute now. It will be able to support 1.2 lakh simultaneous users as against the present capacity of 40,000 users, with the capability to easily scale up as demand increases in future.
The availability of facility of internet ticketing has been extended to 12:30 am from 11:30 pm. Some other initiatives are -- making e-ticketing possible through mobile phones and covering larger number of trains under Real Time Information System (RTIS). The Budget also promised to introduce free wi-fi facility at few stations soon.
In another announcement, ‘Aadhaar’ will be used for various passenger and staff-related services. “The database generated, can be extensively and efficiently used by the Railways not only to render more user-friendly services such as booking of tickets, validation of genuine passengers with GPS-enabled handheld gadgets in trains, but also to provide a better interface with its employees in regard to their salaries, pension, allowances etc,” Bansal said in his speech.
The Budget also had new initiatives to boost Rail Tourism in the country. The Railways will launch multi-modal travel package in cooperation with Jammu & Kashmir state government. Interestingly, there will be ‘Yatra Parchis’, common rail-bus tickets, issued to pilgrims travelling by rail to Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine at the time of railway ticket booking. Following the success of the executive lounge at the New Delhi Railway Station, the Railways will introduce executive lounges at seven more stations -- Bilaspur, Visakhapatnam, Patna, Nagpur, Agra, Jaipur and Bangalore.