Spurred by a string of IT-driven passenger-friendly initiatives, Indian Railways is driving IRCTC to set up an ambitious agenda to emerge as an efficient, single window solution for e-ticketing, catering, tourism and online shopping.
Indian Railways says this includes everything from improving the capacity of portal based ticket booking to expanding the operations of e-catering.
Of late, Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation Ltd. (IRCTC) has launched new initiatives in all its verticals such as e-ticketing, tourism, catering, online shopping and Rail Neer, to strengthen its brand as a ‘Mini Ratna’ PSU of the Indian Railways.
Dr A K Manocha, Chairman and Managing Director, IRCTC said, “We have launched a series of initiatives that are in tune with the proposals of the Indian Railways Budget 2015-16. In particular, we have started leveraging IT in a big way to extend the portfolio of passenger amenities.”
“The capacity of e-ticket booking has been enhanced to over 14,000 tickets per minute from the existing 7,200 tickets per minute in the earlier system. This has been made possible by importing new HP Itanium servers from Singapore, which have speeded up the booking of e-tickets and also doubled peak-time efficiency for booking Tatkal tickets in the peak morning hours,” he added.
Keeping an eye on growing mobile phone market in India, IRCTC launched mobile apps for ticket bookings using mobile phones on Windows, Android, Blackberry and IOS platforms, bringing Indian Rail e-ticketing to international standards.
A major initiative of IRCTC in October last year was its decision to associate with online shopping portal Amazon for two years. It will give its travelers and customers an easy and convenient shopping experience on www.amazon.in.
IRCTC’s e-catering facility, which facilitates passengers to order meals online while travelling or by making a phone call, is now available in 1516 trains across the country. They can also book their meals through an SMS to 139 by giving details of their PNR and seat numbers.
Some other initiatives include setting up of 91 Food Kiosks at Delhi Metro stations, floating of tenders for executive lounges at 50 stations, and revamping of retiring rooms at 600 stations on the PPP model.
Another innovative passenger-friendly measure introduced by IRCTC is concierge service at some major stations, which provides last-mile connectivity to the train passengers from stations. Passengers can also book porter service, along with the cab/coach, and wheelchairs, if needed.
Under its CSR initiatives, IRCTC has launched measures to improve the profile of passenger amenities at Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST), Mumbai and Varanasi. Up-gradation of amenities at these two high-profile stations includes clean toilets, potable water and first aid or medical facilities, besides more wheel chairs, luggage trolleys and golf carts.