To ease rush at booking counters, the railways is mulling introducing booking of unreserved railway tickets on e-wallets like PayTM, JioMoney and Airtel Money. The move is also expected to help scale up paperless mobile ticketing operation across the country in a big way.
Unreserved ticketing forms a huge chunk of the railways’ total ticket sale in a day and “we want to tap this sector through e-commerce”, said a senior Railway Ministry official.
The railways will not have to bear any cost for the facility. Instead, the public transporter is expected to earn from the selected e-wallet players commission on each ticket sold and retainer fees.
Many top mobile wallet companies are keen on joining the railways, the official said, adding talks were on to finalise the modalities.
Since these e-wallets are already operational for booking taxis, cinema tickets and other services, joining the railways will offer a big scope for these private players.
The move is a win-win proposition for both the railways and the mobile wallet companies, the official said.
The railways carry total 23 million passengers in a day, of which only six per cent is in reserved category and the rest are in unreserved segment which includes daily commuters.
At present, mobile ticketing options are available in a few suburban sections including Chennai, Mumbai and Delhi-Palwal.
However, despite the huge scope in unreserved ticketing sector, the use of railway wallet for mobile ticketing did not elicit as good response as expected.
According to the railways, the use of e-wallets like PayTM in the unreserved ticketing system are expected to boost the paperless mobile ticketing operation.
While the current mobile ticketing requires geo-fencing of certain area to prevent malpractices, there is no need for such measures with these e-wallets.
Discussions are on with these players for making the operation foolproof with bar-coding system as more than one crore tickets are sold daily through unreserved ticketing system, said the official.
Moving ahead with the ‘Digital India’ mission, the railways expect to make the e-wallet system operational across the country early next year.