Very soon, short code 5676714 will become an integral step to kick-start your travel programme. One has to SMS his or her travel details and SARATHI will book the ticket and deliver it in a flash, through SMS.
The first step to book a mobile ticket is to register oneself with Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation Limited (IRCTC) in a system aimed at easing the pressure on the Internet, whose link gets choked in peak hours, especially while tatkal tickets are being booked.
One has to send in details to the short code, which has been approved by all mobile service operators, for authentication by SARATHI.
SARATHI will respond by sending a pre-composed message, seeking journey details. It will also send details of ticket availability and other information.
The Railways intend to introduce the concept of M-wallet as a payment option, besides the Interbank Bank Mobile Payment Service (IMPS) that requires registration with a bank. M-wallet, a pre-paid instrument, will be available at all mobile retail outlets where customers can recharge it as they recharge prepaid mobile connections. Even post-paid mobile customers can make use of this platform.
Once the fare is deducted from the bank account, the ticket will be delivered through an SMS.
All mobile operators have been roped in, officials say, and their 1.5 lakh retail outlets will sell M-wallet.
This system will come in handy for booking tickets even from any remote corner of the country, where Internet connections are still scarce.
The Railways also plan to extend the scope of mobile booking with add-on facilities. It wants to make available cars and hotel rooms on rent. About 5,000 hotels have been tied up.