Suggestion to IRCTC: New Ticketing Model “Pay First – Book Next”

IRCTC error

Error when I suggested this online 🙂

Hi,  we all know how tedious and slow is the process of booking a ticket in IRCTC during peak times.  Everyone of us would have cursed them at least once, when the transactions failed at the bank payment step., or rather the Tatkal fails to come to our rescue in urgent times.  We of course missed to realize what a great web site it is and the convenience it brought to our door steps.  We never cared for what it delivered to the community in spite of the running bureaucracy and red-tapism in all its veins.  We didn’t even know of the large-scale DOS attacks and other digital security threats they silently suffer with, just because it can disrupt something very national in nature.

Any way, I am explaining one PROBLEM and its SOLUTION. Pasting here, a part of the mail I sent to them:

1. Many a time, the vacant berths i see are gone by the time i come back after bank payment.
2. And also, booking multiple tickets asks for the payment each time and I have to go through the same 4-5 screens (average) of bank payment every time.


Lets change the ticketing Model a little bit, where the customer pays the amount first and then books tickets later worth that amount.  It works like this:

1. Say, I am going to book two tickets worth approximately 1000/- and 800/- each.
2. I first login to IRCTC and pay rs.2000/- in advance, which will be tracked in my user account.
3. I will then go and book the tickets without the hassle of going through the delay/inconvenience of a bank payment.
4. If the balance amount is unused for 48-hours, then it will be returned to the user’s bank account.

Advantages of this Model:

  • I completely avoid the delay in bank payment, pending the vacant births at that point of time. Technically speaking, this actually avoids couple of problems in real time booking.  I can explain this further.
  • I completely avoid the 4-5 screens of bank payment which are really inconvenient in cases of multiple ticket booking.
  • I avoid multiple ‘service charges’ on multiple bank transactions.
  • In every transaction, IRCTC is actually keeping a part of the amount in excess (for a few days), so the overall turnover of the site increases just like that.

Variations of the Model:
1. We can actually change this model a little so that the user always keeps an imprest cash of say rs.1000/- with the IRCTC, so that he is saved of the bother of bank payments every time he books a ticket. May be we can do a little survey here.

pl consider the above suggestion and change the ticketing model.   Also, I don’t find a better method to communicate this to you. Pl let me know if there are other channels.

So, why am I telling all this to you:

I need your help. The web site is not having a proper way to drop this suggestion. 250 characters is too limited but I tried my best though.  What I want from you is that:

Click the ‘thumbs up’ on top of this post, if you like this suggestion. And please spread this message so that it reaches most people ONLINE. At last, we are the ones who are using it most.  I want all this because I quoted this link as a reference. And I hope they will come and see the ‘Thumbs Up’ count 🙂 for an initial survey results 🙂

Categories: suggestions | 13 Comments

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13 thoughts on “Suggestion to IRCTC: New Ticketing Model “Pay First – Book Next”

  1. t v bhaskar

    annaa………irctc is like central railway minister…they lookafter their selfish gains….who cares about public………..irctc is the website that getting most hits in world………if they implement people friendly measures the hits will be low..but your damage minimising suggestions are praiseworthy….i wish some one from irctc would feel warm from your post…

  2. chandu

    i appreciate your suggestions, but am wondering that the brokers might take an advantage of this. I think the booking window for IRCTC agents/brokers shall not be kept opened during peak hours. I am not sure whether it is already implemented.

  3. Rama

    Balu! Did you try reaching Viswanatha Srinivasa Prasad? he is a member in IRCFA which is a advisory board for Indian Railways. He has proposed many suggestion and also gave lot of feedback to Indian railways. He can tell you how to reach the ppl who can actually take your suggestions properly.

    The method you proposed is good, but it can be misused if not implemented properly. Also putting money with IRCTC account can be more risky, I suggest rather leave an account tied up with a Bank onine account and just use the transaction password. that can minimise all the bank selection and transaction steps.

    And as you said we can do more research for sure.

    Spreading this word!

    Good going!!!

  4. devi

    hello balu,
    nice idea but as someone already pointed out its better either attach one of your online accounts or how it will be if the railways introduces something like “calling cards”. i feel with these the railways can get some more revenue as say if your ticket is 980/- u may need to take a card of 1000/- and i guess the amount of blocking by the brokers may be reduced. lets hope your idea reaches them and some sort of action come in this regard.
    pls, be sure to take the patent rights of your ideas…

  5. The model of advance payment, retaining funds and refunding back attracts extra service charges with payment gateways. It also needs some legal approvals to collect and keep fund for service in advance.

    IRCTC as such is slow at peak times, but connection to and back from Payment Gateways is not that slow.

    I have some suggestions in scope for ‘general public’

    1. Avoid using highly used gateways like ICICI and HDFC. Many tend to use their credit card’s bank’s gateway. It is not really important. All gateways charge same 1.8% for any Visa/Master cards (with few exceptions)
    2. Do the planning and availability queries during off peak hours.
    3. If not booking between 8-9 am, use Quick Book. For this ,keep all details like Train number and station information ready.
    4. In my experience I did not find Passenger Lists useful. They waste another server round trip.
    5. Note the station codes for frequently booked stations, so that you can avoid the server activity for matching station names.
    6. If you are booking from/to stations with multiple local stations, use exact station code which the train touches – otherwise IRCTC helps/bugs you with another poorly designed page.
    7. If possible, use virtual credit cards for safety and especially speed. Most banks’ virtual cards bypass 3D Secure and Verified By Visa authentications – saving two server roundtrips in flow.

    I remember just these on mind.. there are lot other tweaks i do on the fly.. I have achieved success levels of booking Tatkal tickets from first 20 lot that too by 8.04 am for Fri/Sun/Holidays on South and East bound trains (from Hyd). My only flop is YPR HOWRAH Exp till now – a challenge pending.

    • hi ck, pretty nice observation & tips. Many of us knew that these features existed, but just that they are not used in right way to avoid congestion. Thank you very much for highlighting. i find the ‘quick-book’ finishing the transaction in just 2 screens, but is not allowed between 8am-9am 😉 Anyway I could book a tatkal today successfully and feel so happy about it 🙂 wow. Or may be its coincidence. Lets c.

  6. Instead of paying ahead… how about an IRCTC pre-paid card? It will make it easier for them & customers to charge these pre-paid cards in advance. The card should/can be used as a debit card as well such that it is easier to manage.

  7. nagaraju

    Chinni Krishna Anna.. How it is possible book tatkal before 8:04am for you??? any tricks ?? can u plz share with us?? everry time when I am tying for tatkal … getting ticket after 8:10am or 8:15am only…. & Thanks for your posts..


    IWANT TO SUBMIT the followings. Reservation chart is prepared 04 hours before the tr departure. tkt cancelled after chart prepared is not accunted for , also pasSengers unable to board tr for some reasons,and cancell their tickets later ,it is suggested that on cancelled tickts ,Details obtained from PRS Counters,on line automaticlly a supplimentary charts can be prepared / genereted every 4 to 6 hourly & it can be sms to passeners also to the T t e as almost all are in possession of MOB PHONES & mob no is mandatory at the time of purchase of rly tkts,it will avoid discomfort to passenger to roam aroun the tte to know his WL/RAC status.IT will also avoid corruption on sale of unused bearths by tte if any and will be more transparent to all.THANKS

  9. Ankit

    Great idea… I Appreciate this model. It will be beneficial to both irctc and passenger. Passenger will be enable to book ticket instant and irctc can get interest on deposited amount 🙂

  10. Uday

    I appreciate ur idea, I also have some but dont know where to share. So let me know the same and also ur feedback on this.
    Problems with IRCTC:
    1) If one wants to make tickets before 1 month of journey, one finds all the tickets booked and now if he wants to commence the journey with train he has to rely on the most uncertain thing of irctc i.e. Tatkal tickets.
    2) The other problem is that less reliability of Tatkal tickets and thereby the same is exploited by the agents.
    Solution that I admit as cogent:
    There should be another quota in railway tickets booking (let say emergency quota). Now it will open before Tatkal tickets just after the completion of reservation tickets booking. Now the different thing in this quota is that the fares of ticket will increases. If 10 % of emergency tickets are going to be booked the fare is also increases by 10% (1.1 times of original fare). Similarly, if 20 % of emergency tickets are going to be booked the fare is also increases by 20% and when the tickets of this quota is going to be full the fare is double of the original one. The beauty of this is that it is beneficial for both irctc as revenue point of view and passengers as convenience. And if one get sure tickets for nearly 1.5 times of the original fare, why he will go to agent and give him 500 bucks more for tatkal tickets? Also there are numerous advantages of this quota if you cogitate over this for few minutes I am sure you will find the most of it.

    • tq for your comments uday.. um..there are three points against what you have proposed:
      1. Tatkal scheme has undergone many changes in the recent past, to be impartial/available to the common man., and still changing..
      2. Ticket prices can’t be increased like this (similar to airlines’ preferential pricing), what if the usual quota is not released at all and keeping everything to the end..
      3. What is it we are solving here to prevent agents charging more after this scheme.. they will collect 1000/- instead of 500/- as we are not addressing the root cause..

      so a better thing to do is actually a behemoth task…. increase the cabin capacity by bettering the infrastructure, develop connectivity, very particularly address the availability issues, and then make it all reachable to common man…

      lets wait and c 🙂 thanks again for reading my post and offering your comments.. lemme know.

  11. Syed Raheem

    1. Prepaid card as Sumit said is correct.
    2. I am one of the suffered person with IRCTC TATKAL system for most cases like ticket not booked but amount deducted… & journey cancelled even of many trials for immediate next days also.

    So, I like to suggest the IRCTC to introduce below my request for those persons who need to journey not money settlement in TATKAL SYSTEM….

    IRCTC should provide one option to the user whether he want to get the ticket for the same train for next day or whenever the same train next scheduled,

    which should be asked only if the ticket is not booked but amount deducted from user. [if amount is already deducted & ticket not booked]

    this is one good step from IRCTC if approved, helping the persons who need to journey not money settlement

    Thanks in advance,
    Raheemuddin Syed

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