Rlys stops greedy ticket agents in their tracks

Online booking

The Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) servers are down most of the time and the railways website is virtually inaccessible in the morning hours.

Culprits: the booking agents!

To curb the growing misuse of the online ticket booking facility, the IRCTC has started cancelling the IDs of its private users and agents across the country.

When Deccan Herald contacted IRCTC IT Group General Manager, Devendra Kumar, in New Delhi, he said the drive was necessary to prevent misuse of online ticketing by unscrupulous elements.

Facility misused

“We noticed the facility being largely misused by agents and so we cancelled their registration. But in the process, a few private IDs too got cancelled. We have almost plugged the loophole in this segment and those who have lost their IDs will get them back sooner or later. Our effort is to make tickets available for common customers,” Kumar said.

Agents whose IDs are de-activated will now have to sign an undertaking requesting for reactivation. Also, an agent can book only two tickets on a single ID, instead of the earlier 10 tickets.

The new drive has obviously not gone down well with the booking agents who say they have already lost thousands of customers to the railways’ initiative.

“They have restricted our booking timings to 8 am to 9 am. Besides, the IRCTC has reduced our commission percentage, denting our margins,” said an agent in Bangalore.

Boom time

The cancellation of agent IDs has brought boom time for the railway ticket counters across Bangalore.

According to Railways sources, a few counters that made an average collection of Rs 4.5 lakh daily, are now earning more than Rs 7 lakh.

“Our counters are witnessing long queues after March 1 and we hope this will continue for some time. But the Railway Minister has already announced the launch of another portal for e-ticketing from the Centre for Railway Information Systems while presenting the 2011-12 railway budget,” said another source with the railways in Bangalore.

But booking has become a messy affair for a large number train travellers.

“We find it difficult to log on to the IRCTC website. Booking tickets for summer vacation is all the more tough. We hope the IRCTC improves its booking facilities soon," said Nishant, an IT professional.

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