Indian Railways is all set to roll out its own e-ticketing service, which will have no room for travel agents and will be reserved for individual users.
“Unlike the e-ticketing service of IRCTC, the new service by Indian Railway will have no role for travel agents and commercial organisations. Only individual users will be allowed to book on the portal,” said a railway official.
Travel agents in the IRCTC service have been accused of blocking tickets to sell them at a premium.
Public resentment has also led the railways to bar travel agents from booking Tatkal tickets during peak hours on the IRCTC portal.
Under the new railway e-ticketing service, individual customers would need to register themselves for the first time for availing the services. The registration will be free of charge.
A maximum of eight transactions per user ID per month will be allowed in the beginning, the official said, adding, the service charges levied will be Rs. 5 per ticket for sleeper class and Rs. 10 per ticket for all other classes.
IRCTC charges Rs. 10 per ticket for sleeper class and Rs. 20 per ticket for all other classes.
The new service will be available on its web portal www.indianrailways.gov.in.
Its launch will be announced after necessary clearance for payment gateway transaction, the official said.
The service will be available from 12.30 am to 11.30 pm.
“The project was sanctioned with a view to consolidate all the services and information on a single window interface for public,” the official said.
He said the service will provide passengers another avenue to book tickets, while easing the pressure from the IRCTC website considerably.
On offer is also a service for booking tickets on the mobile platform.
Customers desirous of utilising the facility and having Internet facilities will have to download mobile ticketing application on mobile phones from Indian Railway’s website, the official said.
Tracking facility for freight trains running and parcel status by customers would be among a host of other features that the portal is expected to introduce shortly.