The Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) set a record on Friday by selling more than 5 lakh tickets online after its electronic hardware and software were upgraded.

On March 1, as many as 5.02 lakh tickets were booked on the website, the previous record being 4.96 lakh tickets achieved on July 7, 2012. The improvement in the system was made possible by investments of Rs.3.5 crore for enhancing the concurrent connection to its firewall from around 10 lakh to 80 lakh and Rs.3 crore for augmenting the software licences and storage area network.

Another investment of Rs.4 crore is also being made to improve the capacity and servers. The IRCTC hopes these augmentations will improve the booking rate during the Tatkal hours (10 a.m. to 12 noon), enabling the customers to reserve approximately 60,000 to 63,000 tatkal tickets per hour, the current capacity being 40,000 tickets per hour.

Apart from banning agents from ordering tatkal tickets during these two hours reserved for the public, the IRCTC claimed that illegal bookings by automated software by unscrupulous touts would be curtailed.

Outlining the IRCTC’s plans in his Budget speech, Railway Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal said the website would be revamped in December to book 7,200 tickets per minute, up from the current volume of 2,000 tickets, and handle 1.2 lakh customers at any given time against the present capacity to take in approximately 40,000 hits.

Electronic tickets account for approximately 48 per cent of the tickets sold every day, earning close to Rs. 37 crore daily, making the website among the top ranking e-commerce sites in Asia Pacific.

More In: National | News