Book your Train Tickets through SMS from July 1, 2013

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Jun 12, 20130 comments

Book your train tickets through SMS from July 1, 2013

From July 1, you will be able to book your train ticket through your mobile phone at a cost of Rs. 6, through a simple text-messaging-based facility or a menu-based dialling service. The bookings can be made from anywhere and at any time in a secure manner. 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.

IRCTC has developed a software, a 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.

“For the SMS-based ticket service, passengers will have to register their mobile numberswith IRCTC and their respective banks (26 banks presently available) 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”.

It is a two-SMS process — at the cost of Rs. 3 per SMS. The revenue for the mobile service providers come from the two SMSes and no other extra charge will have to be paid by the ticket purchaser. Banks will charge payment gateway at the rate of Rs. 5 for any transaction below Rs. 5,000 and Rs. 10 for an amount in excess of this.

IRCTC is introducing the mobile wallet concept, from which the ticket fare and its service charge will be deducted. The advantage of the service is that tickets can be booked from anywhere in the country with a mobile tower reach. IRCTC has claimed that the mobile phone process will be faster, reliable and secure and no hard copy of the ticket will be necessary while undertaking the journey. The SMS confirmation will be valid.

Railway Minister C.P. Joshi will launch the scheme on July 1.


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

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