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get details of online train ticket bookings on your mobile Very Soon
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The next time you book your train ticket online using the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) Web site, you will get an SMS on your mobile phone informing you of your confirmed ticket details such as the PNR number, the date of journey, class of travel, and originating and the destination stations.

This service, launched by IRCTC a few days ago, comes to you at no extra charge. And, even IRCTC is not spending anything; rather, it might make some money while providing this additional service to you.

“The idea was to provide information to passengers through additional channels to prevent possible misuse of accounts just like the banks do for credit cards and bank accounts,” said Mr R.K. Tandon, Managing Director, IRCTC.

How did IRCTC, a public enterprise under the Railway Ministry, manage this?

Well, this is how the model works. The message on your mobile phone, apart from giving you your ticket details, will also advertise a Sukam inverter, or a Hero Honda bike or a Reliance Money plan.

IRCTC has tied up with Spice Digital, a value added services company. Spice Digital has set up an SMS gateway server at its own cost at IRCTC’s physical site. IRCTC insisted on this to reduce the chances of data theft.

An SMS can take about 160 characters, out of which IRCTC will provide details in 80 and Spice Digital will place advertisements in the remaining.

And Spice Digital will pay a “small amount” to IRCTC for sending an advertisement to the registered users. Plus, IRCTC will also vet the advertisements that are sent to prevent “inappropriate” advertisements from being pushed to passengers.

Of course, you will get the benefit of getting an instant message only if you have registered yourself as a user on the IRCTC’s Web site and have divulged your mobile phone number. In case you are one of those passengers who have booked the ticket through one of IRCTC’s agents, you will not get the message.

“We are trying to work out a way to ensure that the passenger gets a message even if he books an online ticket through an agent,” Mr Tandon said.

In 2008-09, 4.4 crore train tickets were booked online. Out of this about 30 per cent of IRCTC’s tickets are booked through agents.

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