Book tickets, meals via rail­way app

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - - NATION - Sri­nand Jha

NEW DELHI: Un­sure about the cred­i­bil­ity of train sta­tus in­for­ma­tion of­fered by por­tals? Ended up be­ing served a wrong meal on train by a pri­vate on­line player? Such is­sues might well be passé.

The In­dian Rail­ways is rolling out an “in­te­grated rail mo­bile app” that will of­fer a range of ser­vices — from ticket book­ings to gift pur­chases to cab and ho­tel book­ings or no­ti­fy­ing se­cu­rity alerts.

The vir­tual plat­form may be op­er­a­tional as early as this year-end, of­fi­cials said.

The app will pro­vide mul­ti­ple op­tions to pas­sen­gers — from check­ing sta­tus on wait-listed tickets to ex­plor­ing pos­si­bil­i­ties of al­ter­na­tive flight tickets to pre­order­ing meals or watch­ing videos from a “down­load­able Wi-fi”.

Sev­eral pri­vate com­pa­nies, in­clud­ing rai­ly­a­, and ya­, have been do­ing ro­bust busi­ness by us­ing the data on train travel.

A rail­way of­fi­cial asked, “When it is pos­si­ble for the rail­ways to take ad­van­tage of the busi­ness op­por­tu­nity in the area, why should we al­low the pri­vate play­ers to flour­ish?”

The en­ter­prise cur­rently has about a dozen part­ner al­liances for dig­i­tal ser­vices. These in­clude the Shri­ram Gen­eral In­sur­ance,, and the Gin­ger Ho­tels. “But we are only skim­ming the sur­face, as of now,” an of­fi­cial said. “The busi­ness po­ten­tial is much big­ger.”

The rail­ways cur­rently hosts sev­eral web ser­vices, in­clud­ing those of­fered by IRCTC, Na­tional Train En­quiry Sys­tem, Un­re­served Tick­et­ing Sys­tem and Com­plaint Man­age­ment Sys­tem.

“But the ser­vices are cur­rently scat­tered across dif­fer­ent sites,” said an­other rail­way of­fi­cial. “Pas­sen­ger com­plaints have also been that their sites get au­to­mat­i­cally re-di­rected, lead­ing to con­fu­sion. Hence, the need for an in­te­grated site.”

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