Looking to tap into the large mass of passengers that do not have access to internet banking or debit cards, a pilot project for cash on delivery of train tickets will start next month from Delhi. Within six months, the service will be extended to over 150 cities.
Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) has tied up with a private player for ‘e-dakiya’ cash on delivery services on a separate portal, bookmytrain.com. The domain name is registered with Anduril Technologies, which will manage the project, according to IRCTC executives.
The service will cost more as the private player will charge Rs 60 for delivery of a ticket in an air-conditioned compartment and Rs 40 for a ticket in ones without air-conditioning. These charges are over and above the IRCTC’s service fee, bank charges and other taxes.
Tatkal tickets can be bought and no preference will be given in the booking process to the private player. This company will act as a travel agent without blocking availability of tickets for passengers buying e-tickets.
At a time when e-commerce players are plagued by high product returns ordered through cash on delivery, IRCTC says it is guarded against this risk. “The private partner will pay IRCTC upfront for all booked tickets. The risk related to collecting cash and delivery lies with the private player,” said an IRCTC executive.
IRCTC books more than half of all reserved train tickets. In 2013, about 140.6 million e-tickets were booked on the IRCTC portal.
“The idea is to reach consumers who do not have debit cards or who are not comfortable sharing bank details online. This project can take a lot of load off booking counters as more people will booking online,” said an official from the information technology department of the railways.
IRCTC earlier provided an i-ticket service where tickets were delivered to passengers who paid for them online. But soon after e-ticketing took off. The i-ticket service was taken off the new IRCTC portal because very few people used the service, said IRCTC executives.
A new e-ticketing system developed by the Centre of Railway Information Systems was launched by IRCTC recently with a capacity to book 7,200 tickets per minute.