From July 1, you can book your train ticket through your mobile phone either by an SMS or a call.

The ticket details will be delivered as an SMS to you mobile phone. This will act as a ticket, along with your identity proof. Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) that manages the online ticket booking facility, will soon announce a dedicated number for the service.

The service cost of booking will be Rs 11 for tickets valued at below Rs 5,000 or Rs 16 for those valued over Rs 5,000.

To use this facility, you need to register with your bank for mobile-phone transaction payment transaction system. IRCTC has tied up with over 26 major banks for this facility.

The payment mechanism may limit the spread of this system, given that it is yet to catch up in India.

The service will be available to all mobile subscribers and Rs 3 will be charged per SMS and payment gateway charges are Rs 5 for ticket amount up to Rs 5,000 and Rs 10 for more than Rs 5,000.

So, this is how it will work. You have to register the mobile number with IRCTC as well as your bank. IRCTC has tied up with over 26 odd banks for this. The bank will provide MMID (Mobile Money Identifier) and OTP (one-time password) for authorisation of payment.

BOOKING STEPS

You have to type the ticket details and passenger details on SMS and send it to the number. Then, you will then receive transaction ID through message. Finally, you have to make a payment by sending another SMS by typing PAY followed by the transaction ID, MMID and OTP as received from the bank.

There will also be a dial in option. Users can enter the details of ticket and enter mobile PIN for authorising payment through mobile wallet.

While the ticket booking facility might open up another option for ticket booking process, this step will not solve the widespread underlying demand-supply problem faced in popular trains – of a sharp short supply of reserved train berths for travel.

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Mamuni.das@thehindu.co.in

(This article was published on June 12, 2013)
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