Senior officials of Indian Railways have been instructed by Railway Minister Piyush Goyal to make the reservation charts public with the help of the Centre for Railway Information Systems (CRIS) in order to combat complaints of railway passengers regarding the availability of train seats.
Soon, Indian Railways is likely to allow its passengers to see the status of seats that are available for booking a particular train by displaying the reserved charts, just like airlines. According to sources quoted in a PTI report, senior officials of Indian Railways have been instructed by Railway Minister Piyush Goyal to make the reservation charts public with the help of the Centre for Railway Information Systems (CRIS) in order to combat complaints of railway passengers regarding the availability of train seats. While booking a ticket in an airline, the website shows the seating layout with the booked seats in a different colour so that the passenger can see the number of seats that are still vacant and are available for booking.
A source was quoted in the report saying that as of now, Indian Railways needs to make the reservation status public so that people can see the booking status of a particular train. It will show railway passengers who are booking the seats, the booked ones in a different colour. He said that this can be done through PNR and the next option will be of choosing seats. The sources further said that instructions have been issued by the Railway Minister after complaints from passengers about getting wait-listed tickets on certain railway routes, leaving them with no option but to approach the TTEs for confirmed tickets. The TTEs then offer the passengers vacant seats which could have been offered to them during ticket booking, they added.
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However, according to senior officials, making the reservation details public could be a security issue as well as it could be a cumbersome process. Unlike airlines, railway passengers board and de-board trains at every railway station, which results in a change in the status of bookings, the report said.
In the Passenger Reservation System, which is totally computerized, confirmed seats are given to passengers on the first come, first served basis till the availability of tickets, following which RAC (Reservation Against Cancellation) or Waiting List tickets are issued to passengers. Moreover, against the cancellation of confirmed seats and also against the release of unutilized reservation quotas, the status of RAC or Waiting List tickets gets updated automatically.
Recently, for the convenience of waitlisted and RAC passengers, Indian Railways has introduced Handheld Terminals that allow TTEs to update the occupancy status of a running train on a real-time basis. This increases the chances of a waitlisted or RAC ticket getting confirmed in a running train as well.