In order to tap the ever growing mobile phone market, IRCTC will launch SMS-based ticketing from 1st July, 2013. IRCTC is describing the step as eco-friendly as it requires no printout. SMS based service which can be used with even simple feature phones will soon get a dedicated number for booking tickets.
The service enables ticket booking from anywhere and anytime and spares you from logging into the painfully slow IRCTC website or stand in long queues. In order to avail the service you have to register the mobile number with IRCTC as well as your bank which provides Mobile Money Identifier (MMID) and one-time password (OTP). To book a ticket you have to type the train number, destination, journey date, class and passenger details like name, age and gender on the SMS box. With this new system users can book six berths or seats in a single transaction.
The sender will receive transaction ID and then can make payment through sending another SMS by typing PAY followed by the transaction ID, MMID as received from the bank and password. The service is available to all mobile subscribers and Rs 3 is being charged per SMS and payment gateway charges are Rs 5 for ticket amount upto Rs 5000 and Rs 10 for more than Rs 5000.
I believe this is good move by IRCTC as the website is most of the time slow due to heavy traffic. Though the SMS service sounds easy I am not sure about how many feature phone users will actually use it. Indian Railways has been doing its best to tap the current mobile and internet status quo. Just recently, they have decided to launch as SMS based service with an initiative to resolve passenger complaints related to housekeeping and hygiene.
Also, I feel it is good to see that IRCTC is supporting paperless travelling which will soon be the case while air travelling too. All in all I believe the service if kick starts on given time will definitely help a large number of feature phone users.
Image Courtesy | mobiledoctors