Railways discontinues online booking of i-Tickets from March 1

CHENNAI: In yet another green initiative, railways has discontinued the sale of i-Tickets, which enabled passengers to book paper tickets online.

Railway sources said the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation Limited (IRCTC) has withdrawn i-Ticket booking through its website, effective from March 1. Launched in 2002, the i-Tickets booked in the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation Limited (IRCTC) website were same as paper tickets booked at the counters.

They were delivered at the passengers’ addresses provided at the time of booking. The IRCTC charged Rs 80 per ticket for sleeper class/second class and Rs 120 per ticket for AC classes.In cities such as Chennai, Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Mysuru, Mangaluru, Madurai and Coimbatore, i-Tickets could be booked two days in advance from the date of journey. For other cities, passengers had to book the tickets three days in advance.

“Since 2011, text messages received through short message service to mobile phones were considered a valid ticket. Now, SMSes are used to find the location of berths/seats and TTEs also do not insist on SMSes since ID proofs of passengers are verified. Hence, paper tickets became redundant,” said a senior railway official. I-Ticket service was offered mainly for the benefit of passengers who could not take the print out of e-Tickets and resided in remote areas.

When people located at outstations booked tickets for those with disabilities and elderly passengers residing in other cities, they received the tickets at their doorstep, avoiding the hassle of taking the print out of e-Tickets.The IRCTC sources said SMSes are considered valid tickets.Those who book the tickets for their relatives (elderly people) from outstations can forward those ticket details to passengers’ mobile phones.

“The TTEs have been given clear instructions that ticket details through SMS received from other mobile phones and not from IRCTC source are also valid. If the ID proof matches with the chart and if no other passenger claims the same berth, the passenger should be treated as bona fide,” explained a senior officer.

Though the move has shut out one way of getting train services without mobile phones by the elderly, Naina Masilamani, a member of Chennai Divisional Rail Users Consultative Committee, welcomed the railway decision.“Mobile phones are necessary for us, particularly the elderly people who travel in train. The move will not affect any section of passengers,” he said.

Eco-friendly step

Launched in 2002, the i-Tickets booked in IRCTC were same as paper tickets booked at counters. They were delivered at the passengers’ addresses provided at the time of booking.

The IRCTC charged Rs 80 per ticket for sleeper class/second class and Rs 120 per ticket for AC classes. In cities such as Chennai, Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Mysuru, Mangaluru, Madurai and Coimbatore, i-Tickets could be booked two days in advance from the date of journey.

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