June 29 (): The Indian Railways has launched ticket reservation through SMS with two exclusive numbers – 139 and 5676714 – specially meant for the service as a pilot project yesterday.
Railway Minister Mallikarjun Kharge said in order to give improved customer service and empower the common man who does not have access to internet and cannot afford to buy smart phones, they have rolled out SMS ticket booking service.
Mr Kharge added that ticket booking through non-internet based mobile, launched as a pilot project by Indian Railways Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC), will also help Railways overcome the menace of touts who fleece unsuspecting people.
He also felt that this SMS-based ticketing service of Indian Railways would help reduce touting activities. He further assured that they would see its functionality and would try to change short-comings if any. He hoped the new system will be helpful in enabling booking of tickets by people themselves with the rapid increase in mobile penetration in India and also because more than 80 per cent people possess mobile phones.
The Railway Minister said that while internet access in India is only about 10 per cent, mobiles are now within easy reach of more than 80 per cent people in our country. He said the service will be particularly useful to workers staying away from their homes as they will find the service convenient as well as cost-effective.
“The Indian Railways’ initiative of launching the ticketing through a mobile phone would further enhance the scope of ticketing since it has huge potential to tap the power of mobile phones,” Railway Board Chairman Vinay Mittal said.