At a time when the government is encouraging every industry to transact digitally and ditch hard cash transactions, Indian Railways has now decided to go digital with ticket booking across its offline counters pan-India.
Indian Railways is in talks with SBI, ICICI, and other leading banks to provide it with 15,000 PoS (Point of sale) terminals at reservation counters with about a thousand of these terminals made available by Dec 31, pan India.
As of now Railways doesn’t provide the option to pay via card at its ticket booking counters. Users can book tickets digitally only at IRCTC website.
“Already we have been offering cashless ticketing options through the IRCTC website. More than 58 per cent of the train accommodation is presently reserved through e-ticketing. Since the remaining load is not too much, railways going cashless is viable,” said a Railway official.
It is worth noting that IRCTC is the most popular e-commerce portal in the country accounting for 58% of all rail tickets.
Indian Railways is also planning to allow passengers to book unreserved tickets through mobile phones at many railway stations. As of now this mobile ticketing facility is available only at a select few railway stations including Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, and Secunderabad.
Railways has about 12,000 ticket counters across the nation and every one of it would be equipped with one or more PoS terminal depending upon the demand. Going digital would not only help passengers with a faster checkout option but would help railways employees to avoid dealing with a lot of cash.
“We have around 12,000 ticket counters. All of them would be equipped with one or more POS machines depending on the daily transactions. Managing cash is also a huge task for our staff. It would be beneficial for them as well if we could have enough swipe machines,” a rail boar official explained.
The digitisation across ticketing counters would be done in phases across the country with counters in urban areas going digital first.
“In places like Mumbai, where there’s a huge sale of monthly passes, we would have POS machines installed immediately. SBI has promised to provide 1,000 machines,” the official revealed.
Vendors and Contractors Would Also Be Paid Digitally
The Railways Ministry is also planning to go cashless for making payments to its vendors and contractors. A notification regarding the same would soon be issued by all zonal and divisional railways.
Railways is already collecting 95% of its freight collections cashless, but no cashless payments were allowed for monthly passes and unreserved category ticket booking.
Now, Suresh Prabhu, the Rail Minister, has instructed all his officials to make the national transporter, the first government organisation to go cashless.
This is a welcome move by Indian Railways that will help transform the country into a cashless and matured economy. Do let us know your thoughts about this by penning a comment.
Source: ET"Now, Indian Railways too Going Fully Cashless for Ticket Reservations!",