Monday, July 16, 2012

IRCTC is rewamping its website and e-booking

It has been reported by Hindustan Times that irctc is completely revamping its website. This will enable the railways to process the phenomenal rise in online booking. Following is the article from Hindustan Times:
The Indian Railways Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) has been in the eye of the storm for its inability to prevent unauthorised agents from booking bulk train tickets. In an exclusive interview, corporation Managing Director Rakesh Tandon spoke to Srinand Jha on the controversy. Excerpts: 
The e-ticketing business continues to be plagued by touts. Why has the IRCTC been unable to provide for a fool-proof system?
The IRCTC website handles enormous load. As many as 2,000 e-tickets are booked every minute and four lakh transactions take place every day. Our emphasis has been on providing a user-friendly and secure site. But there are people who find ways to misusing facilities, off and on. We have started a campaign to check the IP address of each user. All sub-agents are being given a unique ID. Strengthening the security system and making the website fool-proof is a continuous and a dynamic process.
What specific steps have you taken to prevent misuse?
A campaign has been launched to prevent users from buying e-tickets in bulk by using multiple IDs. In the past one year, the IRCTC has de-activated the registrations of as many as 44,000 sub-agents, who were found to be operating multiple IDs. The Standards, Testing and Quality Certification and the Indian Computers Emergency Response System (CERT) have been commissioned for conducting a security and a functional audit of the IRCTC site. A team from the Broad Vision - which handles the IRCTC's software operations - has also started upgrading the website.
What lacunas have been detected in the website?
Nothing, so far. But the entire application software has to be upgraded to meet the growing demand.
Is this an exercise to completely revamp the website?
The e-booking business has been growing phenomenally at a rate of nearly 300 per cent each year. We started in 2002 with 10 licences from Broad Vision. Today, IRCTC operates on 175 licenses. Until 2008, the IRCTC website had been handling 45,000 transactions each day. This month, it has handled more than four lakh transactions. So, a system upgrade and revamp of the e-booking website is certainly required, which has begun.
There have been reports that the e-ticketing business will get transferred to the Railways portal once the portal becomes operational?
The e-bookings business is likely to remain with the IRCTC. The Centre for Railway Information Service (CRIS) is developing the software for the Railways portal. But this portal is likely to handle other services.

Friday, July 13, 2012

New Tatkal System Gives Relief to Reservation Seekers

Steps taken by irctc to correct the drawbacks of tatkal misuse has started bearing fruits. A recent report in the Hindu confirms this:

The changes in the reservation scheme, implemented from this past Tuesday, have led to improvements in the performance of the Indian Railway Catering & Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) website and in the number of bookings.
Basheer Ahmad, who got a tatkal ticket after standing in queue for around an hour or so at Nizamuddin railway station on Wednesday morning, did not have happy memories about getting tatkal tickets either from the railway reservation counter or though the IRCTC website. There were occasions when he spent the night outside the railway station just to be the first in queue, which got moving at 8 a.m.
“I came here at 9 a.m. today because I wanted to see if the new timing had made any changes in the way a common man like me gets reservation done. To my surprise, I got the reservation!” said Ahmad, a resident of Bihar.
Delhi University student Asutosh Kumar has access to Internet at home but preferred coming to the reservation counter because it is “almost impossible” to get a tatkal reservation online.
Talking about the “horrible” experience with the IRCTC website, Kumar said: “As per my experience, there is no point in trying to get a reservation through the IRCTC website. I have not yet tried booking tickets online after the changes made by IRCTC. I just hope it works because then I will not need to come to the reservation counter.”
Since Tuesday, no authorised agents, including agents of the IRCTC and others, were allowed to book tatkal tickets from 10 a.m. to 12 noon from the counters as well as the Internet.
IRCTC Joint General Manager (Public Relations) Pradip Kundu said IRCTC has been getting good feedback. The number of hits on the website site at 10 a.m., the time the tatkal tickets are open for reservation, have decreased almost by half, leading to smooth functioning of the website.
“Previously there used to be more than eight lakh hits when the counters opened for general and tatkal tickets. Since Tuesday, there have been around 4.5 lakh hits on the IRCTC site at 10 a.m. With a fixed number of berths available under the scheme, the extremely high number of hits used to play spoilsport for the common man. Since the last few days, IRCTC has been able to increase the number of reservation thanks to the series of measures it took to dilute the monopoly of touts and agents over reservation,” said Mr. Kundu.
“The changes brought about by IRCTC include increasing the bandwidth of the website from 344 mbps to 450 mbps, besides limiting reservation to two tickets per IP address. We have deleted around 44,000 multiple user IDs — a trick adopted by reservation agents and touts,” he added.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Railways Trying Hard to Prevent Misuse of Tatkal Ticket Scheme


LUCKNOW: Railways is working to further do away with the misuse of Tatkal tickets. The minister of state for railways, KH Muniyappa, convened a review meeting of senior railway officials to further streamline Tatkal scheme on Tuesday. A close of 1.70 lakh Tatkal tickets are sold everyday.
With the recent steep hike in the fares of the airlines, the demand and supply gap for railway tickets has substantially increased which railways is trying its best to reduce through various measures, said the minister.
(Read More at: http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2012-07-03/lucknow/32523040_1_tatkal-railway-tickets-booking)

Tatkal Booking New Timings at IRCTC


UPDATE (15 June 2015)


Railway Tatkal Booking Timings Changed

The Indian railways has decided to change the tatkal booking timings from 15 june 2015 to enable hassle free reservation at the windows as well as online. So the non-AC tatkal tickets can be booked from 11:00 am instead of 10:00 am as it was before. However the tatkal AC tickets will be booked as before i.e. 10:00 am.
The realways has also decided to bar all agent booking for half an hour at every booking opening time. So for general booking 8:00 to 8:30 am is a no agent time zone. The agents will also not be able to book tatkal AC tickets between 10:00 am to 10:30 am and beween 11:00 am to 11:30 am for non-AC tatkal tickets.
There is some good news for tatkal ticket refund seekers. Railways is considering to refund a certain percentage of ticket cost to the passenger if s/he  decides to cancel a confirmed tatkal ticket with a stipulated time. The details are yet to be finalized, but surely it is a good initiative.

In a bid to make Tatkal booking more convenient for the masses, reservation of Tatkal tickets will start from 10 am instead of 8 am, from July 10, and no authorised agents will be allowed to book those during the first two hours, said K. H. Muniyappa, minister of state for Railways.

This initiative also targets to curb black marketing and mass purchase of railway tickets by touts.
Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC), the public sector undertaking of the Ministry of Railways, has taken additional measures to improve the online ticketing system for customers. These include augmenting e-ticketing software licences and technical evaluation of mobile-based technology, among others.
“With the steep hike in airfares, the demand-supply gap for railway tickets has substantially increased, and we are trying our best to reduce it,” said Muniyappa.
E-ticket handling capacity of the IRCTC website is also being increased. As of now, the site can handle 3.5 lakh bookings a day, which will be increased to around 5 lakh bookings per day by November this year and to 8 lakh bookings a day, as per the long-term plan. Both IRCTC and Centre for Railway Information Systems (CRIS) are working jointly in this direction.

(Read more at: http://techcircle.vccircle.com/500/%E2%80%98tatkal%E2%80%99-booking-to-start-at-10-am-from-july-10-daily-e-ticketing-capacity-raised-to-5-lakh/)

IRCTC To Increase E-Ticket Capacity To 0.5M Tickets Per Day


Following criticism of the performance of IRCTC’s online ticketing website, and allegations that the downtime was orchestrated in order to help touts book Tatkal tickets, K. H. Muniyappa, the Minister of State for Railways has said that the capacity of the IRCTC website to allow ticketing is being increased from 350,000 per day to 500,000 per day within four months, with the long term goal of reaching 800,000 tickets per day. In addition, the timing for booking of Tatkal (urgent) tickets at counters 8 AM to 10 AM, with effect from 10th July, 2012, in order to avoid congestion in the morning.
Whether this is also applicable to online ticketing is not clear, though that is likely to be the case since it would otherwise lead to an increase in demand for tatkal tickets online. Travel agents will still not be allowed to book tatkal tickets for the first two hours. Every day, on an average, around 1.5 million tickets are sold by the Indian Railways, including via the e-ticketing website and 8838 counters.
(Read More on MediaNama.com)

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