Average daily hits touch 10-12 lakh for Tatkal booking

A huge jump in demand for train tickets in the run up to Holi has put pressure on the online ticket booking website of the Railways, which is hosted by Indian Railways Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC).

In the last few days, average hits on the IRCTC website at any given point during the Tatkal booking hours have touched 10-12 lakh, a 20 per cent increase over the annual average of 8-9 lakh. Tatkal booking hours are between 10 am and noon, when passengers can book a day before by paying a higher fare.

Such is the rush that some users even complained of not being able to get past the login page for the past two-three days. “Our website has seen a surge in hits and bookings in the run up to Holi,” said an IRCTC official, saying that the problems are compounded due to the festival rush.

Earlier this week, tickets booked on the website touched a record high of 5.72 lakh a day.

“On Monday, 5.5 lakh tickets were booked, 4.69 lakh on Tuesday and 5.11 lakh on Wednesday,” said the official, adding that in March so far, over five lakh tickets were booked every day.

Additionally, the festival rush is also reflected in the extra money that people are willing to shell out to book tickets in the Holi special trains that the Railways is running between New Delhi and Mumbai; and New Delhi and Jammu Tawi. Fares in these trains move dynamically – based on demand – and tickets for these trains can only be booked online.

For the Holi special trains to Jammu Tawi, on Thursday, in the AC 2-tier and AC-3-tier segments, people paid about ₹1,400 more than the regular express train fare. Those travelling in the non-AC sleeper segment were ready to shell out ₹440 more than the Tatkal tickets.

Similarly, on the Delhi-Mumbai route, people were willing to pay ₹400 extra (13 per cent more than the standard Rajdhani Tatkal rates for AC 2-tier segment), and ₹350 more (16 per cent extra) for the AC 3-tier segment.

Meanwhile, the pressure on online ticket booking is expected to ease in a month or so once the website’s ₹100-crore technology and capacity upgradation is in place.

(This article was published on March 14, 2014)
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