The Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC), a subsidiary of the Indian Railways that handles the catering, tourism and online ticketing operations, will soon send status messages about waitlisted tickets to passengers.
"Once the SMS-based service is operational, passengers will get the updated status of their waitlisted tickets automatically," a senior railway ministry official told The Times of India.
The confirmation Short Messaging Service (SMS) will be sent on the same mobile number that was used by the passenger while booking the ticket in the first place. Centre for Railway Information Systems or CRIS, an autonomous organisation under the Ministry of Railways that develops and manages the IT applications of the Indian Railways is making the software for the SMS-based service.
Interestingly, the SMSes will only be sent to passengers whose tickets are confirmed, and not everyone. What this means is that in trademark 'Indian reality show' style, passengers will have to anxiously wait to find out if they are one of the lucky ones whose tickets are confirmed. And if end up not receiving an SMS, better luck next time.
As of now, passengers can either check via the internet, or call on the enquiry number 139 to check the status of their waitlisted tickets. A number of 'apps' (like PNR status and train info, RAIL PNR Status, etc.) are also available to check the PNR status of tickets. However, once the new service is enabled, we wonder how worthwhile these applications will actually be?
In February 2012, the ministry of railways had permitted SMS sent by the IRCTC to be used as train ticket on par with the Electronic Reservation Slip (ERS). Post that, it had also introduced an SMS-based train ticket booking service.
Last month, IRCTC launched a new service to enable online booking of retiring rooms or dormitory beds at railway stations for travellers. Prior to that, one had to physically visit the railway station to check availability/book retiring rooms. To begin with, the online booking facility is only available for railway stations in Mumbai, but going forward metropolitan cities and stations of tourist interest will be covered under the service. The booking can be done via both www.railtourismindia.com as well as www.irctc.co.in.
(Edited by Joby Puthuparampil Johnson)