Calcutta, May 22: You will soon be able to book your railway tickets by simply sending an SMS.
Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC), the public sector enterprise managing online reservation site www.irctc.co.in, is conducting test services on the networks of major telecom service providers. The service will likely be announced in a month.
IRCTC sources said the test runs on the Reliance and Hutch networks had been successful. An agreement will be signed between the operators and IRCTC before the launch of the service.
Reservations through SMS can be done from any phone ' mobile or landline ' that offers the messaging facility. Mobile reservations, on the other hand, can be made only through phones with GPRS facility in case of GSM users.
To book tickets using the SMS facility, a passenger will have to register on the IRCTC website. While registering, the passenger has to specify the payment mode. One can pay through debit or credit cards. It will also be mandatory to create a list with a maximum of six passengers per ticket, which is the standard norm, as typing the entire list in a message is not feasible.
The passenger will have to send a message to 7245, which is the customer service number of IRCTC, mentioning the train number, class, date of journey and passenger list. A return SMS will provide the fare and availability details. The passenger will now have to send a second SMS confirming the payment. The ticket will be delivered through a courier service for a charge of Rs 40 per ticket of sleeper class or Rs 60 for all other classes. The charge for the SMS will be operator-specific.
“Currently, message alerts from IRCTC originate from 7245. The number has, therefore, been chosen for the test runs,” said an IRCTC official. “However, if required, a separate number for the service will be provided at the time of the launch,” he added.