Now, Book Railway Tickets With Vodafone M-Pesa
Vodafone, India’s second largest telecom company today announced a strategic partnership with Bharat BPO who are also a official Rail Sampark partner of Indian Railways Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC). This partnership will enable booking for Indian Railways tickets on mobile phones using Vodafone M-Pesa as the payment option.
Vodafone M-Pesa is a mobile money transfer and payment service launched in 2012 by Vodafone in collaboration with ICICI Bank. M-Pesa service is akin to a mobile wallet, where subscribers can create a mobile money account and make payments at various establishment or transfer money to any bank or mobile account using only their mobile phones. M-Pesa has pan India distribution network of over 75,000 agents and with more than 1.8mn customers.
Bharat BPO on the other hand are official IRCTC partners for providing Integrated Train Enquiry Service (ITES) in India. They also provide a SMS based mobile railway ticket booking service, where users can book their tickets by simply sending an SMS to Shortcode 139. The payment for tickets with this service happened through user’s bank using IMPS (Immediate Mobile Payment Service)
Now, Vodafone having partnered with Bharat BPO, users have an additional channel of making payments, which is far easier than using IMPS. To use Vodafone’s M-Pesa service customers will have to download their mobile application “139 Railways Reservation”only once, post which it does not require any data connection for registration or booking of tickets.
The application can be downloaded by Vodafone customers by sending an SMS “TICKET” to 111. Once accessed, the app prompts users with interactive and guided menu options towards booking tickets. Vodafone M-Pesa customers can send in their booking details through the “139 Railways Reservation” app and only have to enter their M-PIN to authorize the transaction. Additionally, information on partial/full cancellation, PNR Status etc. can also be accessed through the mobile application. In case of cancellations, relevant refund will be credited to the customer’s Vodafone M-Pesa wallet. The service is a highly secure one, available only through the mobile number which is registered with IRCTC during the registration process.
Who Will Benefit?
This service is targeted at people who do not have access to internet and don’t have bank accounts. It will help millions of Vodafone customers who are unable to book Railway tickets on their own due to lack of bank accounts. Through this new service, Vodafone customers can not only book railway e-tickets but also seek PNR status, cancel tickets, get refunds, all at their own convenience, through their basic mobile handsets.
Bharti Airtel already has a similar offering which enables their customers to book Railway Tickets through their mobile phones without need of Internet.