After a slow start, booking of rail tickets via app gains steam

Indian Railways

A year into service, mobile ticketing still contributes one per cent to the total suburban tickets booked in railways. Both Central and Western Railways see close to 80,000 to one lakh daily average commuters using mobile tickets. But after a slow start, things may be looking up for the mobile application (app).

“More than single journey tickets, we are seeing huge response from season ticket pass holders, renewing their passes on the application. The application allows one to book both paper and paperless tickets. The option of quick response code allows a commuter to print tickets booked on the app after reaching the station,” a railway official said.

Regular commuters, who have used the app for more than six months, say while railways has improved the app on many counts, a lot could be done.

Vijay Aravamudhan, a commuter, said, “The railways should allow commuters to book tickets from inside the station also. This helps commuters, who are switching from long distance trains to suburban route. They should also allow us to extend the route of our season tickets and introduce ‘tourist ticket’ option.”

As opposed to standing in queues, the UTS mobile app of Indian railways aids commuters to book suburban railway tickets within ten minutes.

Classified under mobile ticketing, passengers deposit money in their Railway (R)-wallets and book single-journey ticket or generate, renew passes.

While commuters have multiple options to book suburban railway tickets, including at the counter, Automatic Ticket Vending Machine (ATVM) and Jan Sadharan Ticket booking Sevak (JTBS), mobile-ticketing is still gaining popularity.

After registering themselves, one could book a railway ticket from the app provided they are in proximity to the station.

“The commuter is required to be not more than 2 km from the station. The GPS co-ordinates will map the commuter’s position to trace the nearest railway station around. They are not allowed to book the ticket when inside the station as that could be misused,” a senior railway official said.

The app also records frequent routes taken by the commuter, to facilitate his next ticket booking. Commuters can also book platform tickets and season tickets through the app.

Another commuters Prakash Kotian, commuter of the AC local said, “The app is useful to reduce ticket booking time. They must allow payment from our bank accounts directly. As the present R-wallet requires us to have an account on some other e-wallet service, the latter applies service charge, which puts us off.”