Airtel Money adds support for Indian Railways ticket booking

Now Airtel customers can book rail tickets through the mobile wallet platform Airtel Money.

Bharti Airtel has tied up with Indian Railways Catering And Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) to provide mobile-based ticket booking services to its subscribers through its mobile wallet platform Airtel Money.

Airtel subscribers can also use Airtel Money to search for stations, trains, availability, PNR enquiry and even make cancellations. To start, users need dial Airtel Money (*400#) to get a Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) code and register for “Express Account” using simple menu on the phone and providing details such as first name last name and date of birth. Users also have the option to register online.

After registration, users can load cash in their Airtel Money account by visiting Airtel outlets (To locate , SMS OUTLET to 121) or online via Net-banking/Debit/Credit cards on website

To reserve tickets, users need to dial (a toll free number that will be announced shortly), choose Book Ticket and then Rail Book. Users have various options such as Reservation, Information services (PNR enquiry, Trains etc), Cancellation etc. After selecting Reservation, users will be asked to IRCTC user ID for first time (associated with the Mobile number) and upon validation they can proceed with ticket bookings.

IRCTC recently announced launching ticket booking service through SMS and USSD from July 1. The move allows people to reserve tickets using mobile phones of any kind. While Airtel is offering USSD service, Bharat BPO, Frequency Weekly and Pyro Group are providing SMS services.

To book tickets through Bharat BPO and Frequency Weekly, users need to send SMS to 139 and 5676714. For the third, users need to install a BSNL pre-paid card.

Customers can book tickets by sending SMS having specified format with date of journey, class, train number and passenger details. The payment process begins with the second SMS. Customers are charged on per message basis.

“In order to facilitate easy access, railways have been making efforts by expanding the passenger reservation system counters’ network. The online booking through IRCTC has now grown up to about 45 per cent of total reserved tickets. This has eased the rush at counters to a great extent. While internet access in India is only about 10 per cent, mobiles are now in easy reach and more than 80 per cent people in our country use mobile phones,” Railway Minister Mallikarjun Kharge is quoted as saying.

Bharti Airtel holds the distinction of managing the World’s Largest CUG Network for Ministry of Railways covering the Railway Board, Zonal Railways, Divisional Railways, Workshops, Production Plants and Railway PSUs, and has more than 2 Lakhs subscribers as on date.