The Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC)’s website is one of the biggest ticketing success stories of digital India. Handling over 13 lakh ticket bookings on a daily average, the IRCTC website was last updated in 2014 and has become synonymous with rail travel in India. But it has also faced complaints about the need to login before accessing train info, lack of information about booking status, etc. Now, the portal is undergoing a major redesign, and the new avatar promises to give a smoother, faster, and more informative experience than ever before.
Created by the Indian Railways’ software wing – the Centre for Railway Information Systems (CRIS) – the new clutter-free design is a huge leap from the “government-like” current website. The new website aims to look and perform at par with leading international travel and tourism portals and deliver a completely revamped user-friendly experience. The newly revamped website no longer requires users to log in to check for and track information relevant to their journey, such as train name, availability, etc. These can now be directly accessed from the homepage, and users will need to login to just pay and confirm their bookings.
Perhaps the biggest change and one of the best features on the portal is a new predictive algorithm that will help passengers predict the possibility of a waitlisted ticket booking getting confirmed. The programme will analyse historical data from the Indian Railways about passenger operations and booking patterns to give confirmation predictions through a “robust workable model”. However, IRCTC has clarified that the probability information displayed by the new service is meant to be purely indicative; and the disclaimer will convey the same.
Other added features to the website include the ability to save and manage multiple payment options, perform multiple activities for existing bookings (including the option to change your boarding point through the Vikalp scheme), and additional filters for search (such as departure/arrival time, train name, class, quota, etc.). The website redesign is the latest in a slew of “upgrades” the IRCTC has undergone in recent months, including a tie-up with Ola for first- and last-mile connectivity for rail commuters, tie-up with RazorPay to support UPI payments on the online portal, and tie-ups with several leading startups like Paytm, Mobikwik, and Hello Curry for a variety of services.
The new website is designed to run seamlessly across various platforms, including desktop, mobile, and tablets and to give the smoothest-possible user experience. The revamped portal also offers helpful guidance on each page to help consumers with any requirements they might face at any stage of the booking process/journey. The new website is available in beta right now, and users can give feedback online. CRIS aims to incorporate consumer feedback before completely replacing the old portal with the new one in the coming days.
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