Indian Railways is taking several innovative steps to be in line with the ‘Digital India’ campaign and to make the experience for passengers as comfortable as possible. Here are the three latest IT initiatives that have been launched by the ministry.
Taking one step further towards consumer satisfaction, the information technology (IT) arm of the Railway Ministry, Centre for Railway Information Systems (CRIS), has developed three new initiatives. These are the initiatives which were launched by Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu, this Tuesday.
Paperless Unreserved Ticketing through Mobile Phone between New Delhi – Palwal Section
As the name implies, unreserved tickets authorise a journey but do not offer any reserved seats. They are also not specific to any particular train service and the tickets are often useful for short distance travels. The paperless unreserved ticketing system through a mobile app has been developed with the view of saving time for the passengers. The system was launched for Chennai and Mumbai suburban sections in April and July this year. According to the minister, it will soon be expanded to other sections as well.
In the Delhi-Palwal section, the system covers 11 stations over a distance of 57 km. The app, ‘utsonmobile’, can be downloaded both on Android and Windows-based platforms. Payments can be done with the help of the ‘railway wallet’ feature of the app. Other than the unreserved tickets, passengers in Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata and Chennai will also be able to book Monthly Season Tickets (MST) and platform tickets with the help of a mobile application very soon. The app can be downloaded here.
Currency Coin cum Card operated Automatic Ticket Vending Machines (CoTVM) at New Delhi Railway Station
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The automatic ticket vending machines are unmanned self-operating kiosks. This initiative is a part of the ministry’s ‘Operation five minutes’, and will help the passengers buy unreserved tickets themselves, without having to stand in long queues. Tickets can be purchased with coins, currency notes and smart cards. As per the ministry’s plan, the machines will be available at all major stations in the next 3 months. As of now, 450 machines are being installed by CRIS. With useful graphic interface for transaction, the kiosks will be very easy for everyone to operate. The machines will issue non-concessional second class journey tickets for non-suburban section, second/first class journey/return tickets for suburban section and platform tickets. They can also be used for the renewal of non-concessional season tickets and recharge of smart cards.
Parichaalan – Mobile Application for Freight Operations
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This app has been developed by CRIS to facilitate easy decision making on freight operations, with improved management operation system. The information available on the app will be current and dynamic, unlike the reports generated by the Freight Operations Information System (FOIS). Also, with the help of pictorial and graphical display of data, the information will be easy to understand. The app will help senior decision makers of the department to plan freight operations on real time basis. It will be provided to other operating officers on the field after the initial experiment.
The app provides mapped movement of freight trains and also offers brilliant search tools to look for specific trains and their services. There is also a planning tool which helps in planning the movement and loading, and gives live updates about the trains.
“The new initiatives are directed towards improving passenger and customer services on Indian Railways. The IT applications which have been inaugurated today are an indication that Indian Railways is constantly moving towards e-Governance,” said Suresh Prabhu during the launch.