How early should you book for a confirmed train ticket?

Mamuni Das New Delhi | Updated on July 12, 2018

The RailYatri app tells you the speed of ticket booking in trains and helps you book at the right time. File photo

RailYatri app tells you with its rush-o-meter feature

RailYatri, a start-up in the travel segment, uses data mining to inform train passengers how early to book to get a reserved ticket.

The information is available to RailYatri app users, in what the company says is a first-of-its-kind service. The app’s “rush-o-meter” feature provides a per hour booking rate for each segment and various destinations based on the past few years trend.

The rush-o-meter shows there are trains that could get fully booked in less than a day to a few days of the Indian Railways throwing open the ticket booking window 120 days before the day of travel.

“Nearly half the trains get fully booked within a short span of two weeks after the Railways opens the booking,” shared RailYatri.

For instance, the AC three-tier coach of Indore- Jodhpur Ranthambore Super Fast Express gets booked in six hours, with a booking rate of 12 tickets per hour [the train has only one AC three tier coach]. Then, there is the non-AC sleeper class of Howrah-Puri Sri Jagannath Express, which sells 51 tickets in an hour, and is expected to sell the reserved tickets in just 10 hours. The sleeper segment gets sold out in two trains — New Jalpaiguri - New Delhi Superfast Express, and Varanasi – Mumbai Lokmanya Tilak Terminus Superfast Express — in just 11 hours .

The finding is based on booking trends of over 2,000 long-distance trains, for the 3AC and Sleeper Class, which account for over 90 per cent of the train passengers, according to RailYatri data scientist. This excludes the AC 1, AC 2, and chair-car segments that has fewer seats. For long distance, Railyatri has taken into account trains that run over 200 kms.

However, there are also trains where the sleeper tickets are available for more than 15 days. These include Tuticorin-Mysore Express, Indore Pune Superfast, Lingampalli - Kakinada Gowthami Super Fast Express and Kolkata-Udaipur Ananya Superfast Express, according to RailYatri data.

Manish Rathi, CEO & Co-founder, RailYatri, says,“We have always believed in ironing out glitches in train travel...This feature will exactly tell you by when or within how many hours/days you should book your ticket so as to avoid disappointment. While there are many who do predictions on ticket confirmation, RailYatri is the only app that will tell you the speed of ticket booking in trains and help you book at the right time”.

Rathi hopes this feature will bring down speculative booking, where people buy tickets months in advance even if their plans are not final. RailYatri has been studying booking patterns of trains across India for around two-three years, and uses Machine Learning algorithms to capture the pattern of booking.

To get an assured seat on trains, passengers need to have a confirmed ticket. But with more takers than overall supply, the Railways also issues reservation against cancellation (RAC) tickets to passengers – which puts the ticket seekers in queue, allowing them to board the train with an assumption that tickets get cancelled. The next lot of tickets issued are waitlisted tickets which passengers buy hoping that some early birds will cancel their journey, allowing them a much prized reserved seat.

Over 10 lakh people fail to get confirmed tickets every day, according to an earlier study by the start-up.

Published on July 11, 2018

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