IRCTC Brings 6 Sweeping Changes In Online Ticketing; Restricts Mobile Wallet Usage & Per User Booking
Indian Railways has shocked users of their online ticketing platform: IRCTC.co.in as sweeping changes have been introduced. From the reactions received so far, Internet users are not happy with these as several unnecessary restrictions have been imposed, which will certainly create inconvenience for the passengers.
In total, 6 major changes have been imposed, out of which two are really severe.
The Worst Changes
1) Mobile wallet & cash card users have been debarred from booking tickets between 8 AM and 12 PM, which has the potential to disrupt several hard core users’ travel plans. At a time when Indian Railways chose MobiKwik as their primary wallet for IRCTC Connect Android App, this decision is indeed ridiculous.
Besides, Paytm is already a top preference for passengers while booking their tickets, as payment via wallet make it easy and less time taking. In 2013, Indian Railways had launched their own wallet for easing the booking process.
But after the recent restriction, what is the point of having these facilities?
2) Each registered user of IRCTC.co.in can now only book 6 tickets per month. Earlier, Railways had allowed 10 tickets for each user.
They have justified this move by stating that 90% of their existing users only book 6 tickets a month; whereas only 10% of the users book more than 10 tickets a month.
Now, in case a family of 10 decides to go for vacation, then it wont be possible from now on. Again, this is one of the worst decisions by Indian Railways, if we speak about passengers’ convenience and comfort.
The Bad Changes
1) Between 8 AM and 10 AM, each user will only be allowed 2 tickets for advance booking and 2 tickets for tatkal booking (between 8 AM and 12 PM)
2) In single user log in session between 8 AM to 12 PM, only one booking would be allowed (except for onward/return journey).
These two decisions will severely hamper those travellers, which need to book tickets of several routes in one single day. For example, a long vacation or traveling itinerary of a sales professional.
The Good Change
Every travel agent (even authorized IRCTC agents) have been barred from booking any ticket during the first 30 minutes of the day, that is, between 8 AM to 8.30 AM for general booking and from 10 AM to 10.30 AM for AC tatkal bookings and between 11 AM to 11.30 AM for Non-AC tatkal bookings.
Considering the monopoly and exuberant service charges commanded by these agents, this decision actually makes sense.
Quick Book option is disabled between 8 AM to 12 PM for all users. This won’t effect much of users, as there several other options to auto-populate the forms while booking the ticket.
Last week, they had introduced a weird rule to wait for 35 seconds before booking a ticket. And now, these 6 changes, out of which two are really severe.
Yes, IRCTC has been progressive and quite tech-friendly as they have partnered with ICICI Bank to sell tickets; partnered with FoodPanda to deliver food; tied up with KFC for delivering fresh burgers and chicken on the move; removed the requirement of ID card for Tatkal tickets and even partnered with airlines such as Spice Jet and GoAir for providing relief for passengers in urgency.
Yes, we are proud that IRCTC managed to churn out revenues worth $3 billion (Rs 19000 crore) last year.
However, curtailing the freedom and mobility of genuine users at the same doesn’t make sense. This will only lead passengers away from trains, and force them to choose bus or air travel to meet their needs.
You can find the complete set of changes here.