Monday, 6 February 2012

Indian Railway's SMS ticket a hit among youth

The Indian Railways, which dominate the digital consumption niche in the travel segment in India, didn’t surprise many when they announced to go paperless with the new mobile ticketing option using SMS. No sooner that Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Department(IRCTC) launched the mobile service, than it’s already a hit among the youth in Kerala.
SMS used as a ticket

The SMS sent by IRCTC will contain all essential data like the PNR number, names and numbers of passengers, coach and seat, date of journey, class and train number. Simply replacing the paper ticket with an SMS, the passenger has to only carry a valid identity proof, and along with the SMS. The identity proof should be in original and together with the SMS, is valid enough. So, what if you accidently delete the message or lose the device? Well, you can still continue the journey by showing the identity proof and paying a penalty of Rs.50. 

As per reported to Times Of India by a senior IRCTC official of the south regional office, "With our website registering nearly 9 million visitors in 2011, it is unimaginable the amount of paper wasted as printouts. Through the SMS facility we expect to pave way for an environment friendly approach and reduce paper usage.”  

This new option isn’t just a good green initiative, but it would also add to the convenience of passengers, as cell phones have become a necessity rather than luxury. Although SMS ticketing has become popular among the youth, it is not yet preferred by some senior citizens who still prefer waiting in queues. Reportedly, a senior citizen doesn’t find IRCTC’s e-services reliable as the website hangs just when you need to book the ticket. Railways had earlier decided to even accept screenshots of the e-ticket that are displayed via laptops, palmtops or mobile phones which will be treated as physical printed tickets. 

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