When Cabinet ministers are visiting filthy departmental canteens or Mother Dairy booths to promote demonetisation drive, the Railways Ministry has found a unique way to give a push to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s unique idea of going cashless.
Contributing its share in the demonetisation scheme, the Railways has started offering train ticket booking facility by just dialling 139, the train enquiry number. Given that the operation is under trial, over 300 tickets are being booked using the 139 option.
“Now, the 139 would also be used for booking train tickets of classes. One just needs to dial 139 and select option 5 from the main menu of Interactive Voice Recorder (IVR). A passenger would have to follow all the instructions through Interactive Voice Recorder and after verifying the account, the ticket would be booked,” a senior Railway official said, adding that an SMS with all booking details such as name, class, berth number and fare would be sent to the passenger’s mobile.
Explaining its operation, the official added: “It was on trial mode much before the announcement of demonetisation scheme. After its success, the ministry has finally decided to roll out for all. It will work as any phone banking system works. After selecting option 5, the user would be asked to enter trains or destinations where he/she wants to travel.”
The official further elaborated: “After selecting destination and train details, the user would be asked to enter mode of payment — credit, debit cards, Rupay, etc. On the selection of payment mode, the user would be asked to enter 16 digit card numbers and then PIN after that ticket would be booked.” Similarly, the booked ticket would also be cancelled by selecting option 6 of the IVR message.
“The service has been introduced keeping in mind wide penetration of mobile phones in the country. Users having Smartphones have many options but there was no choice for feature phone users except asking others to book their tickets or reaching nearby booking counters. Now, it will make them self-dependent as they can book their tickets from any part of the country sans any Internet,” the official stressed.
Passengers can even cancel their counter tickets using the 139 option, but the user would have to reach counter within a stipulated time to get their refund.