Cashless Ticket Booking In Railways

 Cashless Ticket Booking In Railways

Following schemes have been introduced for promotion of cashless transaction on Indian Railways:-
i. The facility of online booking of reserved tickets has been provided through Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) website. The payment for tickets booked through IRCTC website is made through various cashless modes such as net banking, through credit/debit cards, cash cards and e-wallets. To incentivise payment through digital means, service charge on online booking of tickets was withdrawn for the tickets booked from 23.11.2016. The facility has been extended upto 31.03.2018.

ii. Indian Railways have tied up with State Bank of India to install 10,000 Point of Sale (POS) machines at various locations of Indian Railways i.e. Passenger Reservation System (PRS)/ Unreserved Ticketing System (UTS) ticket booking counters and Parcel/Goods locations.
iii. Booking of tickets through mobile phone has also been introduced wherein payment can be made through credit/debit cards, net banking, e-wallets etc.
iv. Service charge applicable on transactions against credit/debit cards for purchasing journey tickets at UTS/PRS counters has been withdrawn.
v. International credit/debit cards issued outside India are accepted for booking of e-tickets through IRCTC website.

vi. Automatic Ticket Vending Machines (ATVMs) have been introduced to facilitate sale of unreserved tickets which have provision of payment through smart cards.
vii. 0.5% discount is given on purchase of season tickets through digital means with effect from 01.01.2017 upto 31.03.2018.
viii. An optional travel insurance scheme with coverage of `10 lakh each had been launched at premium of `0.92 per passenger for those passengers who purchase their online e-ticket (RAC/confirmed ticket holder) from IRCTC website. Subsequently, this insurance scheme is being offered free of cost from 10.12.2016 and has been presently extended up to 31.08.2018 for those passengers who purchase their online e-ticket (RAC/confirmed ticket holder) from IRCTC website.
ix. 5% discount is given for digital payment of catering services on Indian Railways. This scheme has been extended up to 31.03.2018.
x. Provisions have been made in new Catering Policy 2017 for installation of facility of cashless transaction viz. POS/Swipe machine etc. in all the mobile and static units.
xi. 5% discount is given on online payment made for availing services like online booking of retiring rooms with effect from 01.01.2017.
xii. It has been decided to provide 5% discount on the total value of basic fare in PRS reserved counter ticket subject to maximum amount of discount on a ticket of `50 for payments made through Unified Payment Interface (UPI) including Bharat Interface for Money (BHIM) subject to value of ticket being `100 and more.
This information was given by the Minister of State of Railways Shri Rajen Gohain in a written reply to a question in Lok Sabha today.

Modernization of Ticketing System in Railways 

Indian Railways provide computerized PRS (Passenger Reservation System) and UTS (Unreserved Ticketing System) counters at various locations. In addition to ticket counters, reserved tickets can be booked online and through Mobile App. Similarly, unreserved tickets can be booked through Automatic Ticket Vending Machines, Mobile phone as well as ticket booking counters. Indian Railways have also authorized following ticketing agents to issue Railway tickets:

i. Jan Sadharan Ticket Booking Sewaks (JTBS) to issue unreserved tickets in various parts of important cities.

ii. Yatri Ticket Suvidha Kendra (YTSK) licencee to issue reserved as well as unreserved tickets through computerised Passenger Reservation System (PRS)-cum- Unreserved Ticketing System (UTS) terminals provided in their premises.

iii. Station Ticket Booking Agents (STBA) to issue unreserved tickets from station premises of certain ‘E’ category stations.

iv. Rail Travellers’ Service Agents (RTSAs) to book tickets online (both i and e-tickets) through website of Indian Railway Catering & Tourism Corporation (IRCTC).

v. E-ticketing agents authorised by IRCTC to book e-tickets through website of IRCTC.

vi. Facilitators, who are retired Railway personnel, to issue unreserved tickets to the general public through Automatic Ticket Vending Machines (ATVMs).

Aforesaid steps have been taken for improving the ticketing system further and to facilitating hassle-free issuing of tickets to passengers. During the checks, instances of attempt to misuse reservation system do come to notice particularly during peak rush periods. With a view to keeping a check on the activities of unscrupulous elements including touts and unauthorised ticketing agents and to making general public aware of the implication of purchasing tickets from unscrupulous elements various steps have been taken which include streamlining of reservation system, making it more transparent, imparting information relating to availability of current status of reservation, increased digitization, conducting checks etc., the details of which are as follows:

i. Restriction on agents on booking of tickets during first thirty minutes of opening of Advance Reservation Period (ARP) booking and Tatkal booking.

ii. Condition of carrying one of the prescribed proofs of identity in original during journey by any one of the passengers booked on the ticket.

iii. Automatic preparation of reservation charts at least 4 hours before scheduled departure of train and thereafter booking of available accommodation through internet as well as through computerized Passenger Reservation System (PRS) counters.

iv. Making provision in the PRS system to transfer vacant available accommodation after preparation of second reservation chart to next remote location.

v. Introduction of Alternate Train Accommodation Scheme (ATAS) known as ‘VIKALP’ for providing confirmed accommodation to waitlisted passengers and also to ensure optimal utilization of available accommodation.

vi. Modification of Railway Passengers (Cancellation of Ticket and Refund of Fare) Rules to discourage speculative booking of tickets.

vii. Provision of CCTVs at important PRS locations.

viii. Only one booking in one user login session except for return/ onward journey between 0800 and 1200 hours.

ix. Provision of CAPTCHA in the booking page of e-ticket/i-ticket on the IRCTC website to check use of scripting tools by unscrupulous elements for cornering of tickets.

x. Introduction of a time check of 35 seconds for completion of online booking of tickets to avoid misuse through use of scripting software.

xi. Making One Time Password (OTP) mandatory for payment of tickets booked online.

xii. Conducting joint as well as independent checks by Commercial, Vigilance & Security Departments to curb the activities of touts.

xiii. Touts so apprehended taken up as per provisions of Law.

xiv. Intensification of checks during peak rush and festival periods. Touts and unauthorized vendors apprehended and prosecuted as per provision of section 143 & 144 of the Railways Act, 1989.

xv. Supplementing checks conducted at Reservation Offices by checks on the train to detect the cases of transferred reserved tickets i.e. persons found travelling fraudulently against accommodation actually reserved in the name of another passenger.

xvi. Conducting checks in booking offices, reservation offices, trains etc. to curb malpractices by Railway staff in connivance with touts. Stringent action taken against the railway staff under Disciplinary and Appeal Rules, if found indulging in malpractices.

xvii. Deployment of RPF staff at important Passenger Reservation System (PRS) Centers to prevent touting activities.

xviii. Surveillance is kept on the possible activities of touts and unauthorised vendors through Close Circuit Television Cameras installed at important Railway Stations.

xix. Taking action against illegal users of online e-ticketing under provision of section 143 of Railways Act, 1989.

xx. Educating general public through Public Address System and media, not to buy tickets from touts/unscrupulous elements and consequences of buying tickets from these sources.

xxi. Installation of Point of Sale (POS) machines in association with State Bank of India at various locations of Indian Railways i.e. PRS locations, UTS locations, Parcel/Goods locations.

xxii. Withdrawal of service charges applicable on transactions against credit/debit cards for purchasing journey tickets at Unreserved Ticketing System (UTS)/ Passenger Reservation System (PRS) counters.

xxiii. Acceptance of international Credit/ Debit cards issued outside India for booking of e-tickets through IRCTC website.

xxiv. Informing passengers about change in their reservation status in the case of Waiting list/RAC to confirmed, cancellation of trains, delayed running of train for more than one hour through SMS.

xxv. Granting of refund automatically to e-ticket holders in the case of cancellation of trains.

xxvi. Provision of facility of cancellation of confirmed/RAC/ waitlisted PRS counter tickets through IRCTC website ( or through 139.

Whenever any case of irregularity committed by authorized ticketing agent comes to notice, suitable action as per provision of the agreement/rule is taken. Such instances generally occur during peak rush period when demand exceeds supply.

 Indian Railways have taken various steps with a view to modernising the ticketing process like launching of Next Generation e-ticketing system with increased server capacity, implementation of multi layer security comprising Frontend and Backend Firewall, Web Application Firewall etc. Further, for promoting booking of e-ticket various steps have been taken viz. acceptance of various cashless modes of payment such as net banking, credit debit cards, cash cards and e-wallets; withdrawal of service charge on online booking of tickets from 23.11.2016 (till 31.03.2018), acceptance of Short Message Service sent by IRCTC and screen shot of e-ticket displayed through laptops/palmtops/mobile phones in lieu of Electronic Reservation Slip for travel on trains.

Further, following works have been sanctioned for modernization of ticketing system:

Modernization of Passenger Reservation System has been sanctioned at a cost of ₹ 109.44 crores in 2017-18. It will facilitate capability to handle higher number of transactions per second.
Modernisation of Unreserved Ticketing System has been sanctioned at a cost of ₹ 180.94 crores in 2017-18. It will cater to the growth in future in terms of number of transactions, terminals and locations. The existing hardware which has reached end of life will be replaced with latest technology equipments.
However, upgradation/modernisation of ticketing system is a continuous and ongoing process.


   Discontinuation of pasting of reservation chart 

Based on a similar successful experiment conducted by South Western Railway, the practice of pasting of reservation charts on train coaches was discontinued at New Delhi, Hazrat Nizamuddin, Bombay Central, Chennai Central, Howrah and Sealdah stations of Indian Railways on experimental basis for a period of three months. Keeping in view the positive feedback received from Zonal Railways, it has been decided to discontinue pasting of reservation charts on reserved coaches of trains at all erstwhile A1, A & B category of stations as a pilot project for six months starting from 01.03.2018.

The logic behind doing away with the practice of pasting of reservation charts on reserved coaches is as under:-

(i) Passengers holding confirmed ticket are aware of their coach/berth number as the same is indicated on the tickets at the time of booking itself, except in case of First Class air-conditioned class.

(ii) At present around 65% of the reserved tickets are being issued through internet for which, mobile number is invariably captured on which an SMS is sent at the time of booking.

(iii) Waitlisted and Reservation Against Cancellation (RAC) passengers get their status update on their registered mobile number through SMS at the time of preparation of first reservation chart which is at least four hours before the scheduled departure of the train.

(iv) Digital charting system has been installed at major stations and at other stations manual boards are installed for displaying the status of the waitlisted tickets to guide the passengers.

(v) Apart from the above, Interactive Voice Response System (IVRS) service through 139, online booking website is available for passengers for checking the status of the tickets on real time basis.

(vi) It will save the cost of stationery as well as savings on account of manpower involved in pasting of reservation charts.

In view of the reasons mentioned above, now there is no need for the passengers to check their reservation status through the reservation charts displayed on the coaches. Moreover, reservation charts continue to be displayed on the station platforms for passengers including senior citizens who would like to view it on charts/ digital charts in all stations including A-1, A & B category stations.


Women compartments in trains and security measures for passengers including women passengers 

Earmarking of accommodation for different categories of passengers including women passengers is done based on demand pattern and availability of accommodation, which is a continuous and ongoing process.

Section 58 of the Railways Act, 1989 provides for earmarking of accommodation for female passengers in trains. Accordingly, in trains carrying passengers, Indian Railways have earmarked following accommodation for female passengers:

i. A reservation quota of six berths in sleeper class (SL) in long distance Mail/Express trains has been earmarked for ladies irrespective of age travelling alone or in a group of female passengers.

ii. A combined quota of six lower berths per coach in Sleeper class and three lower berths per coach in Air Conditioned 3 tier (3AC) and Air Conditioned 2 tier (2AC) classes for senior citizens, female passengers 45 years of age and above, and pregnant women when travelling alone. In case of Rajdhani, Duronto and fully Air Conditioned Express trains, the number of berths to be earmarked under this quota in 3AC is 4 lower berths per coach as against 3 lower berths per coach in normal Mail/Express trains.

iii. A reservation quota of six berths in Air Conditioned 3 tier (3AC) in Garib Rath Express trains has been earmarked for exclusive use of female passengers irrespective of age travelling alone or in a group of female passengers.

iv. Second class accommodation for women in the second Class-cum-Luggage-cum Guard’s Coach(SLR) in most of the long distance trains.

v. Unreserved coaches/compartments for female passengers in EMU (Electrical Multiple Unit)/DMU (Diesel Multiple Unit)/ MMTS (Multi

Modal Transport System) trains & local passenger trains depending upon demand pattern as well as availability of accommodation.

vi. Running of ladies special Electrical Multiple Units (EMU)/ Mainline Electrical Multiple Units (MEMU) / Multi Modal Transport System (MMTS) services on the suburban sections of Mumbai, Kolkata, Secunderabad and Chennai as well as on the Delhi-National Capital Region (NCR) sections.

Policing on Railways being a State subject, prevention of crime, registration of cases, their investigation and maintenance of law and order in Railway premises as well as on running trains are the statutory responsibility of the State Governments, which they discharge through Government Railway Police (GRP)/District Police. However, Railway Protection Force (RPF) supplements the efforts of GRP in providing better protection and security of passenger area and passengers and for matters connected therewith.

However, to provide security to passengers including women passengers, following steps are being taken by Indian Railways:

1. On vulnerable and identified routes/sections, 2500 trains (on an average) are escorted by Railway Protection Force daily, in addition to 2200 trains escorted by Government Railway Police of different States daily.

2. Surveillance is kept through CCTV cameras, provided at about 394 stations over Indian Railways, to ensure safety and security of passengers.

3. Ladies Special trains running in Metropolitan cities are being escorted by lady RPF personnel. The train escorting parties have been briefed to keep extra vigil on the ladies coaches en route and at halting stations in long distance trains.

4. Through various social media platforms viz. Twitter, Facebook etc., Railways are in regular touch with passengers including women passengers to enhance security of passengers and to address their security concern.

5. Security Help Line number 182 is made operational over Indian Railways for security related assistance to passengers in distress.

6. An Integrated Security System consisting of surveillance of vulnerable stations through Close Circuit Television Camera Network, Access Control etc. has been sanctioned to improve surveillance mechanism over 202 railway stations.

7. Regular drives are conducted to prevent entry of male passengers in compartments reserved for ladies, and if found, they are prosecuted under the provisions of Railways Act.

8. Liaison is made by RPF with the State Police/GRP authorities at all levels for prevention of crime, registration of cases, their investigation and maintenance of law and order in Railway premises as well as on running trains.


Steps to improve passenger services and amenities in Railways 

Indian Railways has more than 8500 Stations. It has always been the endeavour of the Railways to provide adequate amenities to the passengers at the stations. Certain amenities are provided at the time of construction of new stations based on anticipated volume of traffic. Amenities are further augmented from time to time with growth in passenger traffic handled at stations, on the basis of the need felt, expectations of the travelling public and availability of funds.

In the recent past, Indian Railways have taken various steps to improve passenger services and facilitate, some of which are given below:-

At stations:

i. Lifts and Escalators at the stations for facilitating movement across platforms.

ii. Battery Operated Vehicles for carrying passengers before/after the train journey, especially senior citizens and persons with disabilities.

iii. Yatri Mitra Sewa for passengers requiring wheel-chair assistance.

iv. Well appointed Retiring Rooms, Waiting Halls and Executive Lounges to relax for passengers during transit.

v. Wi-fi facility at 127 important stations on IR.

In Reservations and during travel:

i. Introduction of the Alternate Train Accommodation Scheme known as ‘VIKALP’ to give option to waitlisted passengers to shift to alternate train having vacant accommodation.

ii. Provision of facility to physically handicapped persons to book reserved tickets online.

iii. Automatic refund of confirmed/ Reservation Against Cancellation (RAC) / e-tickets on cancellation of trains.

iv. Enhancement of Senior Citizen Quota as well as quota earmarked for physically handicapped persons.

v. Provision of facility to book available accommodation after preparation of first reservation chart through internet as well as across any computerized Passenger Reservation System (PRS) counter upto preparation of second reservation chart.

vi. Acceptance of all International Credit/Debit cards for booking of e-tickets through Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) website.

vii. The passengers having confirmed/RAC/Waitlisted PRS counter tickets may cancel the same through IRCTC website ( or through 139 within the prescribed time limit and the refund amount maybe collected across PRS counter on surrendering the original ticket.

viii. Establishment of Yatri Ticket Suvidha Kendras for issuing of tickets through public private partnership for establishment and operation of computerised Passenger Reservation System (PRS)-cum Unreserved Ticketing System (UTS) terminals.

ix. Commencement of concierge services with facility for online booking of wheelchairs through IRCTC website at New Delhi and 23 other stations.

x. Provision of Automatic Ticket Vending Machines to facilitate purchase of unreserved journey tickets.

xi. Commissioning of online booking of retiring room at over 490 Railway stations.

Provision of enhanced passenger amenities in train coaches is a continual endeavour of the Indian Railways (IR).

i. Some of the policy decisions taken in this regard are:

a) Provision of cushioned seats in General Second class coaches.

b) Provision of bottle holder in Non-AC Sleeper Class coaches.

c) Provision of dust bins in Non-AC coaches.

d) Provision of mugs with chain in Non-AC coaches.

e) Provision of Health Faucets in AC as well as Non-AC Sleeper class coaches, etc.

ii. IR has also planned to improve the interior of the Integral Coach Factory (ICF) design coaches. New interiors with more pleasing colours, aesthetically designed fittings, paneling, improved toilets, etc. will be provided in the existing coaches by refurbishing them during Mid Life Rehabilitation (MLR). Work in 700 such Model rake coaches is being progressively carried out, out of which more than 100 Model rake coaches have already been turned out.

iii. Various premium services like Humsafar, Tejas, Antyodaya and coaches like Deen Dayalu and Anubhuti, which have improved passenger amenities, have also been introduced in service.

iv. IR has launched Project Swarn with the objective of significantly improving the passenger experience. In total, 14 Rajdhani and 15 Shatabdi trains will be covered.

v. For the assistance of visually impaired travelers, Integrated Braille signages, i.e signages superimposed with Braille scripts, are being provided in the newly manufactured coaches of IR. Retrofitment of the same in existing coaches has also been taken up in a phased manner.

In addition to above, to cater the needs of passengers, Indian Railway introduces new services and extends/increase the frequency of existing services. Efforts are made to speed-up train services and augment them, subject to operational feasibility and commercial justification. These are on-going process on Indian Railway. Further, to meet the extra rush of passengers during festival/holidays special trains are operated and extra coaches are also attached in trains.


Cashless Transaction in Railways 

Keeping in view the Government’s directive to promote digital transactions and to facilitate passengers to make payments using credit/debit cards, Indian Railways have tied up with State Bank of India to install 10,000 Point of Sale (POS) machines at various locations of Indian Railways i.e. Passenger Reservation System (PRS)/ Unreserved Ticketing System (UTS) ticket booking counters and Parcel/Goods locations.


The cashless transaction in the case of freight business is more than 99%. As far as passenger business is concerned, during the period April, 2017 to February, 2018 approximately 66% of total reserved tickets were booked through cashless modes of payment through internet or through credit/debit cards across counters and approximately 70% of revenue has been received through cashless modes of payment in respect of reserved passenger segment.


Development and Beautification of Railway Stations 

 Presently, Railway stations are beautified/modernized under ‘Adarsh’ Station Scheme. Various passenger amenities which inter-alia include improvement to façade of the station building, retiring room, waiting room (with bathing facilities), separate waiting room for ladies, landscaping of circulating area, earmarked parking, signages, Pay & Use toilets, Foot Over Bridge, ramps at entry to station, separate parking for Persons with Disabilities (Divyangjan), Non-slippery walkway, ‘May I help you’ booth, trolley path etc. are proposed to be provided at Railway stations which are identified for development under this scheme as per the respective category of the station. So far, 18 Railway stations have been developed under this scheme during the financial year 2017-18.

At present, stations are taken up for development under ‘Adarsh’ Station Scheme and 44 stations in the State of Madhya Pradesh, have been identified for development under this scheme. Upgradation of stations on Indian Railways, including those in the State of Madhya Pradesh is a continuous and on-going process. Works in this regard are undertaken for improvement of passenger amenities depending upon need, volume of passenger traffic and inter-se priority subject to availability of funds.

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