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Online railway ticket booking registers sharp increase

Stripped of catering services from most of the express trains, the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) is focusing on online ticket booking system across the country. Buoyed by the sudden increase in the online booking, the IRCTC has chalked out various plans to provide better services to its customers duly registered with its site in during peak festival time. According to an official, the IRCTC has been making all possible efforts to expand its network in other private sectors. “Efforts are on to link our services to airline ticket booking operation also. This would be a major thrust area for spreading our business,” he said, adding the premium Tatkal ticket booking online is another important area for it to streamline its services in the larger interest of passengers.

Railways online ticket reservation through the IRCTC site has registered an astronomical increase to about 4,00,000 bookings daily compared to about 40,000 bookings per day in 2008. However, the IRCTC is likely to target about 7,50,000 bookings a day by 2015, an IRCTC official said adding Bihar has a major share in online ticket booking these days.

Confirming the sudden increase in the ticket booking through its site, either online or through SMS system, an MD rank official said the IRCTC has chalked out a comprehensive plan to cope with the rush of customers on its own site during festivals. “The IRCTC has managed to maintain its lead position in the domestic travel ticket bookings. But, it is keen to make its portal a ‘one-stop shop’ for planning tours and other services that passengers require while undertaking journey,” he said. IRCTC, which is a part of Indian Railways, has already become an agent of International Air Transport Association (IATA). It has tied up with Air India and Jet Airways to provide services to an elite class of passengers, sources said, adding IRCTC ticket business constitutes about 40 to 45 per cent of the total revenue for the corporation which is about Rs600 crore annually.