Monday, November 26, 2007

An Internet Story - India Rail tickets

Its much easier to make reservations for travel in India from US than from India. Sitting here in Silicon Valley, I could make reservations on Indian Railways that professional travel agents in Delhi could not! This past week, I have personally experienced internet power. We are planning an India trip and for various reasons decided to take an overnight train. We contacted friends; asked travel agents but no luck- either no tickets available or try later- then it occured to us to try the internet ourselves- from the land of unlimited bandwidth - we were able to log in right away to a friendly Indian Railways screen, get all information, reserve, make payments and were done in ten minutes. I found out later that the travel agents in India also try to do the same thing - but in India where only one in 3 computers is networked and bandwidth is unrelible - they could not do it and eventully they do it through a courier - just like the old days!

6 comments:

Jeevan said...

am not sure which is the place you were trying to get the agent at. but in many mid-size cities as well, we got good broadband now. since last one year, i have never been to any railway station/airport/agent for tickets. i do it online.
but i do appreciate your post abt the power of internet. we do need to improve a lot.

Anonymous said...

people living in US think we in india live in Stone age!

In almost all mid size cities people us internet and connectivty is as good as any other country in global.


Wake up!

Spend some time on the Indian Railway website and you will also come to know that you can trcak the position of trains!

Anonymous said...

I though to do some work for you

Please find time to check

http://www.expresscomputeronline.com/20071029/market03.shtml

Vinod Asthana, Director, Customer Service, IRCTC said, “In the month of August 2007 we booked a total of 12,90,608 passenger e-tickets, generating a revenue of nearly Rs 110 crore.” He added on an average, 43,020 people book tickets online every day with IRCTC generating an income of Rs 3.6 crores daily in August. Asthana added, “We have observed that 15 percent of ticket sales are through e-ticketing and we plan to double this number by end 2008.”
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At CP in Delhi Govt is planning to launch Bullock Carts to check pollution!

Shashank Garg said...

I haven't seen a reservation counter of Indian Railways in over 5 years. In fact, I don't even have a travel agent. So, whether we have to travel by train or by air, or even by over-night bus, we do everything online.

However, it is important to point out that broadband penetration in India is pathetically low. In fact, the definition of "broadband" itself leaves a lot to be desired. The de facto acceptance of 256 Kbps as broadband is the current mantra. We need to raise this to 6 Mbps, at the very least. Slow internet access leaves the impression of poor, shoddy service.

We need to raise our standards on this count. Once we have universal broadband access at 6 Mbps per user, we can expect much better service for normal day-to-day services.

Shashank Garg said...

A new addition to the saga of "An Internet Story - India Rail Tickets", is the recent announcement by Indian Railways that a "frequent traveller" programme is going to be introduced very soon. While we are already familiar with frequent flyer programmes, it will be interesting to see how this initiative impacts rail travel. I am sure rail travel will evolve over the next few years as a preferred mode for leisure and business travel within the country. I would love to travel much more by rail and explore the countryside, than travel by air. Rail travel is also considerably "greener" than air travel. More power to Indian Railways.

Shashank

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