The Indian Railways, with Union Minister Piyush Goyal at its helm, has brought in several changes in its functioning in the past few months but the most prominent one is Railways' new 'next generation website', which offers a range of services that were not available on the old website. Features like train search without login, easy-to-use web interface, alternative accommodation facility, etc, have been incorporated in the new IRCTC portal, whose final version was launched on June 13.
IRCTC's next-generation website
The new website provides a facility to check train status without logging into the website, providing details about the departure, train time, and availability on the homepage itself. Once you check train status, you can log in on the website and book the ticket. Apart from having a facility to book Tatkal tickets, the IRCTC portal also provides train cancellation facility. You can also check the probability of your ticket getting confirmed under the 'CNF probability' option. If you are availing discount under 'Divyang' option, which is there for specially-abled and journalists, you need a photo identity card issued by Railways, which is to be produced for onboard or off-board verification. Those accompanying them also need to carry an identity card. Also, those looking for alternative seats can check 'VIKALP' option.
Raise food-related issues in trains
The Railways is set to roll out a new facility to enhance the onboard catering service by Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC). Trains such as Rajdhani Express and Duronto Express, that have pantries, will now have an IRCTC manager to address food-related complaints such as substandard quality or overcharging. The manager will attend to the complaints even when the train is in motion. In order to facilitate the new feature, the Indian Railways will reserve a dedicated berth or seat for the IRCTC manager onboard. The manager will report to the 'Train Captain' at the railway station from where the train originates.
Mobile app to curb fleecing in trains
Railways introduced 'Menu on Rails' app in June where prices of meals are listed to make sure that passengers are not overcharged onboard. Passengers travelling by Rajdhani, Shatabdi, Duronto, Gatiman, Humsafar, Tejas Express and other trains can utilise this app. Additionally, an order was also passed by Indian Railways stating that if the vendor failed to provide the passenger with a bill, then the passenger need not pay for the food. The IRCTC also launched its trial run of eco-friendly food packaging on eight select Rajdhani and Shatabdi trains from New Delhi. Passengers on these trains would be served meals on eco-friendly disposable plates instead of the polymer ones.
Payment system for seamless booking
The Railways will launch its own payment system called 'IRCTC-iPay' by August. It will help in alleviating the troubles faced by travellers while booking train tickets online. IRCTC iPay provides all payment options like Credit Card, Debit Card, International Card, Auto Debit, UPI, Wallets etc. On May 4, the Railways also allowed the IRCTC e-wallet users to book e-tickets, including Tatkal tickets, through IRCTC Rail Connect, an android mobile app of the Railways to book tickets.