Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation
||This article appears to be written like an advertisement. (January 2012)|
|Type||Subsidiary of the Indian Railways|
|Headquarters||New Delhi, NCT, India|
|Services||Catering, Tourism and Online Ticketing|
Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation, is a subsidiary of the Indian Railways that handles the catering, tourism and online ticketing operations of the railways.
It is known for changing the face of railway ticketing in India. It pioneered internet-based rail ticket booking through its website, as well as from the mobile phones via GPRS or SMS. In addition to e-tickets, Indian Railways and Catering Tourism Corporation also offers I-tickets that are basically like regular tickets except that they are booked online and delivered by post. The tickets PNR status is also made available. Commuters on the Mumbai Suburban Railway can also book season tickets through the website. It has also launched a loyalty program called Shubh Yatra for frequent travellers. Through this program, passengers can avail of discounts on all tickets booked round the year by paying an upfront annual fee.
Seeking to make it easier to book e-tickets, It launched a scheme called Rolling Deposit Scheme (RDS). RDS is a hassle-free e-ticket booking scheme allowing passengers to reserve seats against advance money kept with the corporation. It has also added flights and hotels booking facilities to their line of online reservation services.
Generally there is a huge load on the website at 10 am, which often slows down the booking process when booking of Tatkal tickets opens. The booking of tickets varies from time to time based on festivals and vacations. It is currently using 58 iridium servers and 10 more servers to be added to cater the heavy traffic in peak hours.
As of May 2013, the ticketing site of the website is able to handle about 120,000 concurrent connections on web servers and can book about 2000 tickets per minute. Indian Railways plans to spend about 1 billion (US$17 million) to strengthen the website to enable it for booking 7200 tickets per minute. CRIS, the technical arm of railways, is involved in the upgrading of the website.
According to a senior Railway Ministry official, the average booking per day has been increased from 367,000 in 2012 to 415,000 in May 2013. Approximately, 310 million reserve tickets are booked in a year out of which 55% of tickets are sold through windows, 37% of tickets are booked online and 8% are booked by ticketing agents. Its highest-ever single day booking is 502,000 e-tickets on 1 March 2013.
And on 13th June 2014 IRCTC online booking has been migrated from the old version to the Next Generation e-Ticketing website which has certain good features like Quick Booking,Saving favourite journeys and made some major changes on the User Interface.
Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation also organizes budget and deluxe package tours for domestic and foreign tourists. A popular tourism package for budget tourists covering important tourist destinations across India is "Bharat Darshan". Luxury tourism packages are also available, that involve special luxury trains such as Palace on Wheels, Royal Orient Express, Golden Chariot, Deccan Odyssey, Royal Rajasthan on Wheels, Buddhist Circuit Train and it is a partner in the Maharajas' Express operation.
Apart from conventional tourism, it also offers adventure tourism packages that include water sports, adventure and wildlife treks, etc. A provision for customizing tours as per specific requirements is also an added attraction. Recently a new venture of Indian Railways, named as RailTourismIndia has launched to provide direct catering and tourism packages to users.
Under the Tatkal scheme, passengers who plan their journey at short notice can book their tickets in almost all Mail/Express trains through the Indian railways internet portal. The booking starts at 10:00 am daily, one day prior to the departure of the train from source station. Tatkal Reservation is criticized by numerous media releases, due to its inefficiency and slow server speed. Many[who?] IT expert suggests that simple steps are not being taken by the Indian Railways management which can easily resolve these issues and some time these are being linked to corruption in the entire ticketing system. Since the new revision, all Tatkal bookings can be done for trains departing within 48 hours. Passengers travelling on Tatkal tickets should carry a photo ID proof along with them to be shown to the ticket checker. Earlier this year, the website has launched Lite version which doesn't include ads, pop ups, etc.,
As a biggest e-commerce portal in India, it made lot of records.
- On Sep 2,2013, nearly 572,000 tickets booked in a day.
- On 19 March 2014, nearly 580,000 tickets booked in a day.
Awards and achievements
Some of the other awards won by Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation are:
- Awarded the National Award for E-Governance, 2007–08 jointly by Department of IT, Govt. of India and Govt. of Haryana.
- Awarded the Genius of the Web Award 2007 for being the "Best E-Governance PSU Site" by CNBC.
- Tourism Unit of West Zone declared winner for the category Best Value Leisure Product in Travel and Tourism Fair of India (TTF & OTM 2008) held in Mumbai from 9 to 11 February 2008.
- Won National award for E-Governance for being "Best Citizen Centric Application" for the year 2007–08.
- Tourism Unit declared winner for the category Most Innovative Product in Travel and Tourism Fair of India (TTF & OTM 2007) held in Mumbai from 10 to 12 February 2007.
- Won CSI-Nihilent E-Governance award for "Best E-Governance Project" in 2007.
- Won the ICICI Bank Retail Excellence Award in 2005.
- Won Path Breaker Award from Dataquest in 2003 and 2004.
In March 2014, the Competition Commission of India (CCI) ordered an investigation against the website's regarding alleged unfair practices related to compulsory sale of food to travellers on some trains and ticket booking.
- Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation to launch 'Rolling Deposit Scheme' for e-ticket - Economic Times. Articles.economictimes.indiatimes.com (28 August 2012). Retrieved on 23 September 2013.
- Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation
- "Indian Railways to introduce Rolling Deposit Scheme for E-Ticketing". Retrieved 31 August 2013.
- Soon, Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation website to book 7,200 tickets per minute - Times Of India. Articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com (27 May 2013). Retrieved on 23 September 2013.
- "Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation website to go 4x faster, book 7200 tickets per minute". Retrieved 31 August 2013.
- Soon, website to book 7,200 tickets per minute - Times Of India. Timesofindia.indiatimes.com (27 May 2013). Retrieved on 23 September 2013.
- It books record 5.02 lakh e-tickets on single day - Times Of India. Articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com (2 March 2013). Retrieved on 23 September 2013.
- Gupta, Jayanta (19 March 2010). "Rs 1 lakh a night on Maharajas’ Express". Times of India. Retrieved 6 April 2010.
- Welcome to Indian Railway Passenger reservation Enquiry. Indianrail.gov.in (30 June 2006). Retrieved on 23 September 2013.