IRCTC Going Green?


irctc going greenWhen you take the Indian railway portal (irctc.co.in) you can now see a message on right side which says “Please do not take printout of E-Tickets, Travel with electronic tickets”. The “slide show” continues to say “Save Paper, We can save 3 lakhs of A4 size paper everyday”. three hundred thousand? Well, good move! Late though. Better not think about the paper wasted in last 2-3 years. I really wanted something “like” this. But does the new “innovative” attempt by Indian Railways going to work? Before starting analysis, lets take a look at their detailed explanation.

Electronic Reservation Slip (ERS) – The printout in standard specified Performa containing reservation particulars, and instructions for use which can be used by the passenger along with the relevant authorized Identification, as travel authority for performing the journey.

Virtual Reservation Message (VRM) – A screen-shot of the e-ticket displayed through laptops/palmtops/ Mobile phone is referred as Virtual Reservation Message (VRM).

ERS/VRM along with any one of the eight prescribed ID proofs in original and the indication of the passenger(s)’ name(s) in the Reservation Chart will authorize the passenger to travel.

VRM combined with valid photo-id in original will be treated as an instrument on par with the ERS.

ERS/VRM along with one of the eight prescribed proofs of identity in original will also authorize the passenger to enter the platform on the day of journey and he/she will not be required to purchase platform ticket. ERS/VRM along with original id proof will be required to be produced on demand of Ticket Checking Staff on the platform.

Reference : Railway Board Letter No.2008/TG-I/10/P/SMS dated 20.07.2011

So, they are calling the new thing VRM: Virtual Reservation Message as opposed to ERS: Electronic(irony?) Reservation Slip. It says,”Carry your ticket in electronic mode using mobile, laptop, ipad”. As they used 3 words, lets split the scenario to 3 scenarios.

Mobile

Most cellphones in India may not be having “proper” internet facilities ( minimum of 3G is required for irctc.co.in to load.). But most might be having a facility to display an image and a data cable. so they take a screenshot from somewhere and copy it to their cell. Here the best case is an iPhone or equivalent where we can use the touch screen to zoom it. But majority of phones need to do terrible stuff to get it zoomed if the TTE (travelling ticket examiner) requires you to. The following might happen most likely in this case.

Passenger taking a cellphone from his pocket and says: “Here is the ticket”
TTE: “Where? I cant see a thing.”

Laptop

There is an image that comes to my mind when I think about flipping opening my laptop while trying to get up from the upper birth of a sleeper when the TTE wakes me up.

Laptop on Road

It would be nice if traffic penalties are as simple as this (?)

For facts about the photo, see: The Case of a Dumb Email Forward

Hope that says it all.

iPad

This might work, as it can display a ticket fully and somewhat easy to carry. But how many people have it? Personally, as I have a laptop and an iPod Touch, I don’t have a use for something intermediate and I’m not going to buy it for sake of carrying VRMs.

A Humble Suggestion

Trees can be saved better. Think about why are we taking an ERS. What information is getting verified there? Probably the PNR number. One cannot argue that the irctc account in which the ticket is booked is verified against the ID Proof. According to IRCTC policy, Any one of the passenger can show ID proof. So its about the PNR number. If feasible it would be nice if a passenger is allowed to carry the PNR number ( any form say as an SMS draft, note etc) and the ID proof, which simplifies verification like never before.

Verdict

This is a good “attempt” from IRCTC and should be appreciated. But as a final verdict, I should say, “Try this at your own risk!” You can satisfy the TTE in train. But an RPF personnel or a cop at a train station may not be aware of this and he might demand ticket in hard copy and if you don’t have it, there is a great chance of unnecessary trouble.

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17 thoughts on “IRCTC Going Green?

  1. Auslay says:

    Want a simpler solution?
    Use QR Codes.
    It could fit into any mobile screen
    And Why not TTE carry iPads/iphones/Android or custom QR scanners?
    it would definitely save the paper that TTE’s carry and would be definitely faster accurate and way cooler than a battered paper clips .

    • vasu says:

      1, Voter Photo Identity Card issued by Election Commission of India.
      2, Passport.
      3, PAN Card issued by Income Tax Department.
      4, Driving License issued by RTO.
      5, Photo Identity card issued by Central/State Government.
      6, Student Identity Card with photograph issued by recognized school/college for their students.
      7, Nationalized Bank Passbook with photograph.
      8, Credit Cards issued by Banks with laminated photograph

  2. S Ravi says:

    Another way to solve this problem, suggest the following : (1) Make ID Card number compulsory for booking e-tickets as done earlier, this would also help to control fake ticket booking done by agents. The same ID can be shown to TTE as identification. (2) OPTIONAL: To show the SMS message received from IRCTC alongwith ID Card (This is possible only if the person who booked the ticket also travelling in the group).

  3. Vipul says:

    One thing we can do.We need to send SMS “PNR ” to 139.All required information come with SMS on mobile.We can use that information as Virtual ticket with valid ID proof.It will be easier for TTE to see compare to screen shots taken by mobile camera.

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