On one hand IRCTC is launching various initiatives to make it easier for consumers to book train tickets online and on the other hand they are coming up with rules that will make life difficult for consumers.
According to a Cleartrip post published couple of days back, it has now become mandatory for for users to have a IRCTC registration even if they are booking through 3rd party online train ticket booking websites.
Millions of users (including myself) book train tickets from Cleartrip, MMT and others just ensure a better experience and less chances of failed transactions. The IRCTC booking site is not only complex and slow, but they sometimes have a fail ratio of nearly 1 in every 3 transactions. Most users pay extra amount on 3rd party sites for smooth transactions.
But with this mandate coming from IRCTC, it will increase the percentage of failed transactions even on third party sites. These sites will now have to do deep integration with IRCTC database. The users will have to give their IRCTC login details on the booking website, and probably the OTA will have to populate the passenger details in IRCTC database. If for some reason, IRCTC is choked or down, users will not be able to book tickets.
I assume IRCTC have come up with this mandate because, now even a SMS from IRCTC can be used as a virtual ticket to travel. This integration will allow IRCTC to obtain full details of consumers enabling them to send out booking SMS.
Given that Cleartrip train ticket booking is down, it looks like the integration is going currently happening and IRCTC has not given much time to 3rd party websites to integrate.
I for one think that this is absolutely unnecessary and IRCTC could have done without it. I would be interested in knowing what users think about this!