Digital makeover: SMS new ticket as Railways may go paperless

The SMS tickets might also carry advertisements, so that the national transporter does not have to bear the cost of sending them. Railways has already started talking to advertising agencies in this regard.

Written by Avishek G Dastidar | New Delhi | Published: December 24, 2015 1:03 am
Indian railways, women safety, R-Mitra app, Indian Railways women safety app, R Mitra women app, social media, technology news The plan is to eventually phase out thousands of old printers and even schedule charts that are pasted on train coaches.

It will soon be the end of the road for printed railway tickets in the country.

A file has been moved in the Railway Ministry which will replace the paper ticket with an SMS, which commuters will receive each time they book a ticket at the railway counter. Currently, only those who buy e-tickets online get an SMS.

Officials said the ministry’s finance directorate is perusing the matter. The Railways, officials said, will purchase premium services, which send out an SMS the moment ticket details are punched into the Passenger Reservation System machines installed at counters across the country. Once the new system is in place, the 162-year-old organisation’s crossover to the digital age would be complete.

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The plan is to eventually phase out thousands of old printers and even schedule charts that are pasted on train coaches.

The SMS tickets might also carry advertisements, so that the national transporter does not have to bear the cost of sending them. Railways has already started talking to advertising agencies in this regard.

While commercial bulk SMSes cost more than ordinary SMSes, the Railways is likely to go for the former. This is because they apprehend that if a commuter does not get an instant SMS at the counter, he might not leave till he does, leading to long queues. “That’s because the SMS will be the only proof that he has purchased a ticket,” said a senior railway official.

One point raised during deliberations, which led to the move, was that nowhere in the Railway Act or in other rules does it say that a ticket has to be printed on paper.

A question that came up was what happens if one does not have a mobile phone. Officials said such a passenger will get a paper ticket on request. “As per our survey, very few e-ticket holders now carry printouts. We expect the same pattern in users of PRS tickets,” the official said. If someone loses his phone, a duplicate ticket will be issued after furnishing valid proof.

Officials believe that by not printing tickets and eventually charts, the national transporter will save 1,200 tonnes of paper. Of the 11 lakh tickets sold every day, six lakh are paper tickets.

As a precursor to the move, the Railways has stopped issuing freshly printed ‘cancelled tickets’ each time a ticket is cancelled. This saves them Rs 70 lakh per year.

Additionally, reservation charts are not being printed for one Rajdhani and one Shatabdi Express as a pilot project.

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  1. C
    CITIZEN
    Dec 25, 2015 at 5:56 am
    Well you get paid for that. Does this mean Bank Employees get free bundle of notes or currency notes at a lesser price, say 500 rs note for 100rs.
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    1. A
      anil
      Dec 24, 2015 at 5:42 am
      Modi Effect. Hence Modified.
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      1. A
        Arun Sharma
        Dec 24, 2015 at 6:42 am
        In addition to SMS, email tickets also. Since id card is required while travelling, in case of loss of phone etc, one can show printed ticket from email or get ticket from railway counter by paying 2 Rs. Also ask for more than one mobile no. Actually, ask travelers to register their email id, mobile no etc using Adhaar once and then quote this number.
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        1. P
          Peoples Person
          Dec 24, 2015 at 5:03 am
          This had to eventually happen. No marks to Railways for this. But by the way, in absence of printed reservation charts, pengers might face problems in getting their berth status. SMS service to 139 for enquiring PNR status and other things doesn't work most of the time. And many pengers still don't have data connection on their phones to check PNR status on the web.
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          1. Prasanna Venkt
            Dec 24, 2015 at 8:40 am
            When will the privileges for railway employee families will be limited ? All railway employee family members can get enjoy life term free tickets from kanyakumari to Jammu. When this system will get stopped ?
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