Who can avail the facility?
The facility can be used only by those who are registered with the IRCTC. The service is accessible for both pre-paid and post-paid customers. All that one requires for SMS-ticketing is a Java-enabled mobile phone or a smart phone and active GPRS service.
Steps to booking railway tickets through SMS
Step 1: One should register oneself with Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation Limited (IRCTC). On registration, one can download and install IRCTC mobile on their Java-enabled mobile phone. One can also register one’s mobile number at the user’s bank. The Bank provides MMID (Mobile Money Identifier) and OTP (one time password) for authorization of payment.
Step 2: One has to SMS his/ her travel details – train number, destination, journey date, class and passenger details like name, age and gender on the SMS box and SARATHI will book the ticket and deliver it through SMS.
Step 3: SARATHI will answer by sending a pre-composed message, asking for journey details. It will also send details like availability of tickets and other information.
Step 4: The sender will get transaction ID and then make payment through sending another SMS by typing PAY, the transaction ID and MMID given by the bank, followed by the password.
Step 5: The ticket fare gets deducted from the bank account; the ticket gets booked and the ticket will be delivered through a SMS. No ticket print-out will be required as the ticketing message in the mobile phone will substitute the ticket and will be valid all through the journey.
Mode of Payment
The Railways plans to introduce the concept of M-wallet as a payment option, besides the Interbank Mobile Payment Service (IMPS) that requires registration with a bank. M-wallet is a pre-paid instrument,that will be available at all mobile retail outlets where customers can recharge it as one does for prepaid mobile connections.
The service will be available to all mobile subscribers at Rs 3 per SMS and payment gateway charges will be around Rs 5 for ticket amounting less than Rs 5000 and Rs 10 for tickets above Rs 5000.
Indian Railways’ SMS-based ticketing is expected to come into force from July 1, 2013 according to reports.