New Delhi: As of today, rail commuters can use a mobile phone app to obtain tickets in the unreserved category as the Indian Railways takes forward its initiative for paperless ticketing.
Fulfilling yet another commitment of the Railway Budget 2015-16, the Minister of Railways Shri Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu launched Mobile Application for Paperless Unreserved Ticketing through video conferencing on Egmore–Tambaram Suburban Section of Chennai, at a function here today. This is a pilot project covering 15 stations in Southern Railway and will be extended to entire country in phases. Referring his Railway Budget announcement, the Railway Minister said that for the passenger, the Indian Railways is committed to ‘Operation Five Minutes’ – that is, purchase of an unreserved ticket within five minutes and today’s launching of Paperless Unreserved Mobile Ticket is the first step in this area. He said that it will allow the passenger to buy a ticket on the move and allow him or her to board the train with the ticket secured on his or her mobile phone, without any need for printing the ticket. Shri Suresh Prabhu commended all the members of CRIS to develop the Paperless Unreserved Ticketing Mobile Application and hoped for speedy implementation of other IT projects in the pipeline. The railway Minister said that the innovative ideas are always welcome and said that he has set up ‘Kayakalp’ Council which will consider innovative ideas for the betterment of Indian Railways.
Here is how you can use the app:
1. As per the plan, a traveller can download the app from the Google Appstore for Android-based mobile phones.
2. After the download, the user will get a registration ID number for creation of a railway e-wallet.
3. Money for buying tickets will have to be loaded through the e-walletmobile payment system either online or at a ticket counter at any station.
4. Passengers have the option of topping up the e-wallet at ticket counters or on the IRCTC website using a credit or debit card.
5. Having booked a ticket using the App, a commuter needs not take a print-out of the same and he can show its soft copy on the cellphone to the TTE.
6. Besides booking tickets, season tickets can also be renewed using the app.
7. The passenger has to use the ticket within an hour of booking the ticket as per the policy of suburban sections.
8. The ticket will have distinct colour scheme everyday and it cannot be forwarded to another mobile, they said.
On a pilot basis, the paperless ticketing system in unreserved segment will cover 15 stations in the suburban section of Southern Railway, officials said. Railways plan to extend the paperless service in suburban section in all metros. Expressing hope that the system will increase transparency and efficiency, Prabhu asked railway staff to come forward with new innovative ideas to improve passenger service. He also appreciated the role of CRIS in making the system operational in the shortest possible time and also announced a reward of Rs 4 lakh to the organisation. More than one crore passenger travel daily in unreserved segment and railwaysuses 1200 metric ton paper every year for printing unreserved tickets, they added.
Shri Suresh Prabhu also unveiled the plaque for the foundation of the Indian Railways Datacentre in Centre for Railway Information Systems (CRIS), an IT wing of Indian Railways, which will provide state-of-the art facilities to house the required computer equipment. Shri Prabhu said that he would expect this new building to be environmental friendly and called upon the officials to complete the construction of this building before scheduled deadline ensuring quality with less cost.
Speaking on the, Chairman, Railway Board, Shri A.K.Mital said that CRIS, a IT arm of Indian Railways since 1986, has proved capable of managing large railway-wide IT applications such as Passenger Reservation System, Unreserved Ticketing System and Freight Operations Information System. He said that over the years, CRIS has implemented other centralised applications such as Control Officer Application, Crew Management System and Integrated Coaching Management System. Shri Mital said that with CRIS taking up the challenge of developing and implementing these large system, the Indian Railways will see a sea-change in the effectiveness and utilisation of its assets, cutting down cost and improving its services.
Member Traffic, Railway Board, Shri Ajay Shukla said that the Unreserved Ticketing System is an important revenue generating system developed by CRIS. He said that nearly two crore passengers obtain unreserved tickets daily through nearly 11470 counters and 5836 locations generating about Rs. 52 crore of revenue per day. He congratulated CRIS for successfully developing Application App for paperless unreserved ticketing system on Indian Railways.
To move forward in line with digital India, Centre for Railway Information Systems (CRIS) has developed a paperless Unreserved Ticketing feature in Mobile Application “utsonmobile” both for Android and Widows platforms. This will eliminate the need for printing of Unreserved Tickets on ATVMs at the stations. User can download ‘App’ from Google Play Store or Window Store.
The application is being rolled out as a pilot between Chennai Egmore & Tambaram suburban Section of Southern Railway covering 15 stations. For paperless ticketing, GPS co-ordinates of suburban railway track on the Chennai Egmore-Tambaram section, plus 15 meters on either side of the tracks have been earmarked as Geo-Fencing area within which no ticket booking is allowed in order to ensure that passengers have ticket before commencing the journey. After implementation of paperless ticketing, facility of printing paper ticket at ATVM will not be available on Chennai-Egmore to Tambaram Section.
The application provides necessary on-screen alerts to guide the passenger during the booking process. Payment for the ticket is done through the “Railway Wallet” feature in the “App”. After booking the ticket, the passenger will get the ticket confirmation screen which contains limited information of the ticket. The paperless journey ticket will be stored in the local mobile application database in the encrypted form which cannot be tampered with. The passenger has to start the journey within 1 hour as per policy for suburban sections. Ticket booked in paperless mode cannot be cancelled in order to prevent claiming of refund after travel.
The ticket has distinct colour scheme everyday and it is embedded with Quick Response (QR) code. It cannot be forwarded to another mobile or edited or printed. The old invalid tickets will be removed from the mobile device through a sync feature in the ‘App’.
For the purpose of ticket checking, the application has various features such as colour scheme, show ticket features, secret code of the day, booking time of the ticket and scrolling of legend “IR UNRESERVED TICKETING’. In case of mobile in disconnected mode, it will be checked through QR Code.
The Indian Railways Datacentre will be a new building in the premises of existing CRIS office. Indian Railways depends heavily on Information Technology for its customer facing commercial activities, train operations, and internal management. Critical IT applications run 24 hours a day, seven days a week, throughout the year, to support Railway operations. These applications cannot be shut down for even a minute on account of any outage of power or cooling.
Sensitive computer equipment used by these IT applications such as high-end servers, storage, network switches etc. needs a controlled environment with precision air-conditioning, uninterruptible power supply (UPPS) , adequate network bandwidth, fire suppression, access control and comprehensive security/surveillance.
The existing datacenters of Indian Railways are nearing their fully capacity. As the number of critical applications increases, this capacity needs to be expanded and the infrastructure brought in line with global standards. To achieve this, the IR Datacentre in CRIS has been planned to ensure state of the art infrastructure for continuous power, precision cooling and protection to the equipment. Complete redundancy and physical security will be provided in the datacenter facilities through the latest technologies in this area. A secure Internet gateway with high bandwidth datacom circuits already exists, and will be expanded further.
The Indian Railways Datacentre can also cater to its PSUs and will help Railways to provide better services to its customers and management.