IRCTC reserved passengers, cheer! Over the last few years, several steps have been taken by Indian Railways to simplify the reservation system for railway passengers. As reservation facility gives confirmed accommodation to passengers during the train journey, it often gets challenging to get confirmed seats if the train tickets are booked at a short notice. However, in order to ease the reservation system for passengers, Indian Railways has come up with various interesting measures. Take a look at five recent steps that were implemented by Indian Railways for reserved passengers:
1) Reservation charts made public: Recently, Indian Railways has made the IRCTC train reservation charts public. The step has been taken in order to help prospective passengers get information on any vacant berths that are available in the train after the preparation of the chart. The information on vacant berths are made available to passengers after preparation of the first chart around four hours before the train departure, while the second chart is made available around half an hour before the train leaves the originating station. Changes are accommodated on the second chart based on the current reservations as well as any cancellations made after the first chart. The feature is available on both IRCTC web and mobile app.
2) Waitlist prediction tool and Vikalp scheme: Last year, the official web portal of IRCTC was upgraded with various additional features. In a bid to provide confirmed accommodation to passengers booking their tickets, a new feature was introduced allowing them to see the probability of their waitlisted or RAC ticket getting confirmed. The software, developed by CRIS especially for waitlist passengers makes use of historical data to come up with a percentage probability of the train ticket getting confirmed. Meanwhile, Indian Railways also have a feature called Vikalp scheme, which offers confirmed accommodation to a waitlisted passenger in an alternate train.
3) Hand-Held Terminals for on-the-go ticket confirmation: Taking another step to provide confirmed accommodation to passengers, especially to waitlisted passengers, Indian Railways has provided tablet devices called Hand-Held Terminals (HHTs) to TTEs. These HHTs allow TTEs to update the real-time occupancy status of a running train, thereby increasing the chances of waitlisted, RAC tickets getting confirmed. The idea behind this move is simple – after a train leaves its originating station, the TTE checks the tickets and in case any reserved seat or berth is found to be vacant, the TTE updates the status on the device. The device relays real-time information through GPRS to the Passenger Reservation System, following which the vacant berth is allotted to waitlist passengers on subsequent railway stations.
4) IRCTC PNR linking: In a bid to make refund claiming process easy for connecting train journeys, Indian Railways has introduced the concept of linking PNRs recently. In this system, passengers can link two PNRs for connecting train journey, both for PRS counter tickets and IRCTC e-tickets or a combination of both. Under this facility, which has been effective from April 1, 2019, passengers are given the option of linking PNRs, when booking the ticket for the second train. Now, if a passenger misses the connecting train because of the late running of the first train, then the fare for the portion travelled is retained and the refund amount is granted to him/her on the balance amount. The amount refunded is the fare of the untravelled portion.
5) Aadhaar verification for more than 6 tickets in a month: Indian Railways has increased the monthly reservation limit of 6 train tickets per user to 12 tickets in a month. However, to avail this facility, Aadhaar verification is required. Therefore, with the verification of the Aadhaar card, a person can book up to 12 tickets in a month. The move is useful for those who travel frequently by Indian Railways.