Booking facility of Railway tickets is much easier now!!! Say goodbye to internet as now you will be able to book train tickets from mobile phones. From next month - July, 2013 you can book your train ticket by sending an SMS instead of Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC). A subsidiary of the Indian Railways that handles the catering, tourism and online ticketing operations, IRCTC is launching a new system for booking train tickets through a straightforward text-messaging-based facility or a menu-based dialing service from 1st July and a dedicated number will be announced for this soon. One good thing is that these two non-internet systems which developed by IRCTC can be also used with simple feature phones.
Nowadays, lots of things including booking air tickets, calling a cab, banking, etc. can be done using mobile phone, so now booking ticket is not left behind. No need to log onto the internet or stand in a long queue. The new method will let you book tickets from anywhere, anytime in a secure manner, even you won't require a print-out because the ticketing message will be considered as valid at the time of the journey. All it needs is some keystrokes on your mobile - the ticket appears in the form of an SMS, which can be shown to the ticket checker while travelling as proof of ticket in place of a paper ticket.
From last few months, mobile technology has been adopted by IRCTC in a huge way to make the rail trip of passengers a smooth experience, right from booking a ticket to reaching their destination, as well the IRCTC website has been already promoting green ticketing and telling passengers to show their SMS based tickets instead of a printed copy. Booking tickets through SMS is one step ahead to the green ticketing program. Even though it may reduce the burden on the IRCTC website which is unable to bear the load, we wish the system would be resourceful and steady to keep you away from glitches while booking tickets on mobile.
This service will be offered to all mobile subscribers and users will be charged Rs 3 per SMS. In addition, Banks will charge a payment gateway fee of Rs 5 for tickets amount below Rs 5,000 and Rs 10 for above Rs 5,000. The returns for the mobile service providers come from the 2 SMSes and no other additional charges will have to be paid by the ticket purchaser.
How to book train ticket through mobile?
6 berths or seats can be booked per transaction through the new systems. There are two options available for booking railway ticket:
1. SMS-based ticket service
This SMS-based booking service will be available to only registered IRCTC users. You just have to register your mobile number with IRCTC and your bank, which gives Mobile Money Identifier (MMID) and One Time Password (OTP) for payment authorization. IRCTC has tied up with more than 20 odd banks for this service.
- You need to mention the train number, destination, journey date, class and passenger info like name, age and gender on the SMS box.
- Then, send SMS to designated number in following format: BOOK.
- Afterward, you will obtain a transaction ID and you can make payments with an SMS to a designated number.
- Last step is to type in "PAY" followed by the transaction ID and MMID as obtained from the bank and password.
2. USSD (Unstructured supplementary data) - menu-based dialing
The menu-based dialing is an IVR service and here, you don’t require registration with the bank. The payment authorization is done using the mobile wallet.
- First, Dial the USSD number, choose ‘book tickets’ option, select 'reservation' (enter your IRCTC user ID once only), and give necessary details such as train number, destination, journey date, class and personal details.
- Next, enter your mPIN for authorizing payment via mobile wallet.
- Once the booking is confirmed, you will receive an SMS from IRCTC with your ticket details. (Note: USSD based ticket booking service will not work on CDMA networks because it does not support USSD based dialing)
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