Train passengers will be able to use their mobile phones to book tickets through a simple text-messaging-based facility or a menu-based dialling service from July 1. The two non-internet systems developed by the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) can be used with even simple feature phones.
“The bookings can be made from anywhere and at any time in a secure manner,” a senior IRCTC official said. “There is no need to log onto the internet or stand in a queue. Any mobile user can operate this system using handsets ranging from feature phones to smartphones.”
In the menu-based dialling service, a system called unstructured supplementary data (USSD) is used where you have to dial the numbers on the menu offered. Payment is made through mobile wallet. There is no need for an internet connection and customers will not have to pay any data charges.
The IRCTC said that it has provided a simple user-guided menu to book tickets, search stations and check the availability of berths.
“A dedicated telephone number will soon be provided to carry out the transactions,” the official said.
For the SMS-based ticket service, customers need to register with their banks to generate Mobile Money Identifier (MMID), a seven-digit random number. For the menu-based USSD system, there is no need to register with the bank and payment can be authorized through a mobile wallet.
Six berths or seats can be booked in a single transaction through the new systems.
THE TWO OPTIONS
1. SMS-based booking
* Registered IRCTC users can use this service. You also need to register your mobile number with IRCTC as well as your bank, which provides Mobile Money Identifier (MMID) and one-time password (OTP)
* Send SMS to designated number in following format: BOOK
* You receive a transaction ID
* Make payment with an SMS to designated number in the following format
2) USSD (menu-based dialling)
* Dial designated number, select ‘book tickets’ option, select ‘reservation’ (user is prompted to enter his IRCTC user ID once only), enter details (station, train no., date, etc)
* Enter mPIN for authorizing payment through mobile wallet
* Booking confirmation SMS is sent by IRCTC