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Like airlines, check live availability of train seats online soon

PTI     January 3, 2019

Just like airlines, the Indian Railways is working on a plan to enable passengers to see the status of seats available for booking a particular train by making the reserved charts public, a source in the ministry said Thursday.

Railway minister Piyush Goyal has instructed senior officials of the national transporter to make the reservation charts public with the help of the Centre for Railway Information Systems (CRIS), sources said, to combat complaints of passengers regarding availability of seats.

When a passenger is booking a seat through airlines' website, it shows the seating layout or the seating diagram with the booked seats in a different colour so that he or she can see the number of seats that are still vacant and can be booked.

While in the airlines, passengers can choose the seat as per convenience and paying capacity, in the railways that will be a step that will be explored later, sources said.

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"As of now, we need to make the reservation status public so that passengers can see the status of booking of a particular train. Like in airlines, it will show passengers who are booking the seats the ones that are already booked, marked in a different colour. This can be done through PNR. Choosing seats will be the next option," said the source.

The sources said Goyal issued the instructions after complaints from railway passengers about getting wait-listed tickets on certain routes, leaving them with no other option but to approach the TTEs. They also say that the TTEs then offer them vacant seats which could have been offered to them when they were booking tickets.

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Senior officials, however, said that making the reservation details public could be a security issue and a cumbersome process as unlike in the airlines passengers in trains board and de-board at every station, resulting in changes in the status of bookings.

In the computerised Passenger Reservation System (PRS), confirmed berths or seats are allotted on the first come, first served basis till the availability and thereafter Reservation Against Cancellation (RAC) or Waiting List tickets are issued.

The status of RAC or Waiting List tickets gets automatically updated against the cancellation of confirmed berths or seats and also against release of unutilised reservation quotas.

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